Inadequate growth points to a deficit in team accountability. Without accountability, even team members who are eager to grow the business let things slide (as you would) because they have so many other day-to-day activities on their plate. They feel justified to work on the most pressing things (immediate gratification), rather than on Exponential Growth Activities, which often provide delayed gratification.
I have been guilty of having this kind of team in the past AND of being the one who didn’t get her tasks done because no one held me accountable.
If that’s the case, how do you bring your team to embrace delayed gratification, with an eye on growth? You do so by sharing the big vision of where you are going as a company and each team member’s individual role in making a difference in people’s lives.
Every team member wants to feel significant and that they belong to something bigger than themselves. It is, I believe, part of human nature to want to belong. To your team members, it needs to feel like the work matters, and it is your job as the leader of the company to educate them on the fact that accountability is the key to making that positive impact.
With the right accountability and by tying it to “making a real difference,” team members feel proud to accomplish epic work, especially when it feels like their own “baby.” They appreciate being a part of something bigger than themselves and when they feel like their work matters, they actually appreciate tracking how much of a difference they’re making.
Your company’s numbers help you locate the issues in your business, in real time. When you have an accountability system in place, visible by all, everything changes. Once results are transparent and everyone is held accountable, you will begin to see a lot more forward motion on the ten projects that will ultimately get your company to that 40 percent or 100 percent growth you set your sights on.
Transparency comes when everything is measured in terms of numbers and each team member is assigned a “number” of their own, tracked weekly. Where many business owners look at their numbers monthly or quarterly, tracking weekly allows you as the chief strategist (as well as your team), to see trends on a much more frequent basis. Instead of identifying a trend over a period of four to six months and not being able to move quickly on reversing the damage, you will see one in three to four weeks and can act accordingly. This makes rapid company-wide decisions and course corrections possible sooner rather than when it’s too late.
We teach our members to keep a dashboard or scorecard of every- thing that happens in the business. Key numbers (some companies call these Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs) are designated so as to tell a story. A team member’s number could be the number of clients signed up that week, a financial benchmark to strive for weekly, a number of leads received or a cost per order.
(I recommend starting with just three or four numbers company-wide and to expand over time. Otherwise, it can feel very complex and overwhelming, which is the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve.)
Eventually, every team member will own “their number” to which they will be responsible on a weekly basis. It is a different number for everyone, and this number becomes for you (and them) like a weekly pulse on whether they (and the company as a whole) will reach your year-end goal.
As a simple example, if you want to have signed up an additional sixty clients in twelve months, an easy way to track that is to sign on five new clients a month. This will dictate how much marketing and how many sales conversations need to be had, based on your typical closing of the sale percentage.
Each team member’s weekly number (and results) are visible to all on a master spreadsheet. If their number is down from the stated weekly goal, it is that team member’s responsibility to come to the weekly meet- ing with proposed solutions, rather than the attitude of “I have no idea why my number is down and frankly, I don’t know what to do about it.”
I recommend keeping a rolling thirteen-week average that allows you to see numbers in context, rather than in a vacuum. So, if a team member repeatedly doubles their sales goal, you can determine that she’s the rock star of the sales team and reward her accordingly. You can also ask her what she’s doing to create such outstanding results and pass on the learning to the other sales team members and create best practices, new processes and methodologies that are then documented in the Operations Manual to be rolled out company-wide going forward.
Conversely, if someone is barely meeting their weekly goals, this is the time to come in to see what could be causing the consistent dip in results, determine a different course of action, ask them what further resources they need, coach them and see what else you can take off their plate to help them achieve their goals.
If you are certain that the goals are fair and the team member continues to produce results below par, despite all the new resources and coaching over a several-week period (at most), this type of regular transparency and accountability will allow you to more quickly replace a team member who is not necessarily a right fit, and solve the problem sooner rather than later.
After repeated coaching and no movement in results, releasing someone from your team who isn’t working out is better done after three to four months rather than three to four years.
Your role now is to empower your team to be proactive about solving the problem, without you generating solutions for them. This means that you can no longer have a drive-by attitude to delegation. Your role is to coach them in reaching their number each week. You are now here to help them and give them every tool they need.
Team members are responsible for predictably promoting or firing themselves. Based on this model, your team continually knows how close they are to reaching their goals (and therefore their bonuses, if you offer this). They are in control of their career and how much they make because they can a) dig a little deeper to achieve it, or b) ask for coaching or resources if they haven’t quite met their goals. They drive their results. They are personally responsible and always aware of how they’re doing.
Having this information available to everyone creates a positive sense of control for each team member as they are in the driver’s seat, with available navigation advice from you if they want it. This can be really exciting for the type of person who takes personal responsibility for their life and career. It creates a camaraderie and group of people who love working together toward a common goal which, in the right culture of collaboration rather than cut-throat competition, translates to a really healthy team of people who like being together.
In the end though, if a person’s numbers don’t get better with your coaching, or if they’re uncoachable, they will realize (often on their own) that it’s not working out. It will be no surprise to them that they are probably not suited for the role.
Yes, in life, we must put people first. But in contrast to what might be happening in other companies, you’re not here to babysit team members who are content with creating mediocre results. I know that this sounds harsh, but I’ve noticed over the years that the right team members appreciate knowing where they stand and having this kind of autonomy in their career. They will stay with you longer because they feel in control.
The key to succeeding with this kind of transparency and autonomy is to create a culture that is focused on metrics and key performance indicators, yet in loving and supportive ways.
When a team member knows they are going to be held accountable for certain tasks and benchmarks being accomplished on a regular basis, this also tends to very quickly weed out people who are happy to just clock in and clock out, which leaves you with rock stars rather than people happy to slide by under the radar.
Each team member knows exactly where they stand and has a constant opportunity to take control of their path within your company. Within a transparent, accountability-based company, and with clear opportunities to make more money and advance in the company by moving the company forward, you “put the power” into each team member’s hands to either create a very lucrative career path or to be “lovingly released back into the workforce” to find something they’re better suited for, as I like to call it.
If a salesperson regularly doesn’t meet their weekly number (one that the other salespeople are meeting) you can inquire about what they might be doing differently. If after a fact finding mission, you realize that they’re going off script and not using your processes, you can coach them to follow the methodology that works. If within a couple more weeks, you continue to see the results haven’t changed and that they’re still going off script, you’re not really firing them. You can see that the team member in question is firing themselves by not following the systems or coaching, and repeatedly not meeting their numbers.
Conversely, the right team members can also see this as a huge opportunity to make extra money throughout the year and continually promote themselves, increase their salary and win goal-tied bonuses, as well as unexpected job-well-done bonuses.
If a team member is not doing well, my view is that there is nothing wrong with the team member in question. It’s rather that their role in your company is probably not their life’s purpose. That’s where we can put any anger or resentment aside and have compassion for them.
By releasing them sooner rather than later, you are doing them (and you) a favor. It allows them to find more fulfilling work elsewhere. Although they might not thank you immediately for it, over time, they will realize that if they’d stayed much longer doing something they don’t love, it would have been a disservice for them, as it was for you.
In the end, it’s your (the business owner’s) responsibility to lead with accountability, so that you are never surprised at the end of the year. Your results have been predictable the whole time.
A keen focus on execution and implementation trumps another brilliant idea, any day. That’s how you predictably reach your stretch goals and reach Seven Figures (or more).
What’s the impact of applying the Accountability Activator in your business? Sheri explains it to you in her own words: “My name is Sheri Chaney Jones, president and founder of Measurement Resources Company, where we help government and non-profits measure and communicate their impact and value.
“I had been following Fabienne, a successful business owner who had three little kids and I thought, ‘I want to be her.’ So I came to one of her live events seven years ago, and even though I didn’t sign up right away, I knew that I was supposed to work with her.
“That event was a huge trigger in my life. At the time, I was working full-time in a fairly high level government position with a side consult- ing business which made about $10,000 per year. I realized that I could not make more than $10,000 if it was just a side business because I also had two small children at that point in time.
“I do not advise you to do this, but I resigned the Monday after I came back from that event. My husband, Matt, was there with me, and we both agreed that I should join.
“The success that Fabienne had while raising children was inspiring to me. I wanted to learn from her because there were other coaches who were teaching similar content, but they didn’t have kids. I knew that she would understand what it’s like to be a mother and to grow a business without compromising.
“A year after I joined the program, my husband quit his corporate job and joined my business because we had done so well in that one year. We had our fourth child and I’ve had two babies since I started my business. Now we have four kids and it’s been an incredible journey. I have now reached Seven Figures in my business, and I work less than I used to at Six Figures.
“Because I launched my business with Fabienne’s teaching, training, and skills, the Leveraged Business process is woven through the fabric of my business. I don’t know how to separate our success from everything that I learned here. Accountability, leveraging teams, leveraging my time, how to hire, and even the exercises we do at our team retreat have all come from Fabienne’s curriculum.
“I feel so blessed to have found Fabienne at the beginning because I can’t separate the wild trajectory I’ve had from implementing everything that I’ve learned. It’s the accountability from all of the other amazing people in this room that makes me know that I can do it.
“Becoming a member is an extremely wise investment. We invest in our education so we can get a good career, and I’m an academic and a researcher at heart, so to me, it made sense. I didn’t know how to market. My biggest fear when I started my business was, ‘How will I get clients? How will I market?’ I went to the best. If I’m going to learn how to market, I’d better learn from the best. Just like you would go to the best university to get your degree, I went to the best business coach to learn how to grow my business.
“This is the best business investment I’ve ever made.” —Sheri Chaney Jones