The A Word: Accountability

By Maureen Kanwischer
Momentum Business Consulting

Business owners wrestle with the need to work their marketing plans but at the same time are consumed with other business needs. What does it mean to be accountable?

To me, it is all about setting goals for yourself and having the disciple to stick to the tasks required to attain those goals. That discipline is a tough one. After all, we are busy all the time, so we must just have too much to do and not enough time to do it. While this may be true, it is not what accountability is about. Being accountable is the ability to focus on your intentional tasks and activities with conviction to attain your goals.

Iíve found that there are generally four reasons why we do not remain accountable to our action plans and, thus, do not meet our goals.

1. You simply donít like the work. This means we would rather be doing anything than the activity in your marketing plan. For example: sales calls. Most businesses rely on having to reach out to other businesses to introduce yourself, expose your services and benefits and start building a relationship. But that initial call is hard to make. Iíve heard explanations along the lines of: ďI donít want to bother someone.Ē Or, ďI donít know what to say.Ē Or, ďI wasnít in the right mood.Ē These are excuses. The real issue is fear.

Solution: The best way to mitigate fear is to understand the consequences. What happens if you donít make those calls? And why are you calling in the first place? If you truly have a product or service that can help someone, then it is your duty to call them and let them know about your business. If you do nothing, then you will earn exactly that: Nothing.

2. You donít feel you are ready. You think you have to have every possible I dotted and T crossed before you begin a task. This is a delay tactic. Of course, you want to make sure you are prepared to launch a project, but donít confuse that with making it perfect. Get the key pieces in place and move forward.

Solution: Nothing is ever perfect. At some point, you have to call yourself ďreadyĒ and engage. Inevitably you will uncover questions or a hole in the process you designed. Be ready to revise your plan as necessary and go forward. If you continuously wait until you have it perfect, you will never start; never gain momentum and never get results. Set a due date and abide by it.

3. You think you are not qualified. Self doubt is the antithesis of accountability. If you already think you can not achieve something, then why bother at all? You are a business person who knows your product and service better than most. Youíve written a plan with action items assigned in order to attain a specific result. Why are you questioning yourself?

Solution: Be confident that what you have to offer is useful. Practice your message. Understand your customersí needs and respond accordingly. Reflect on past successes and remind yourself how that helped your customer. Once you have these positive vibes in your head, youíll be ready to attack your tasks.

4. You havenít fully committed to the task. If you have any doubt or fear about the task, how can you hold yourself accountable? You must fully commit to the actions you have determined would be best to fulfill your business goals. If you donít believe in the work you are doing, then numbers 1, 2 and 3 above will kick in.

Solution: Once you have determined that a certain activity will be part of your plan, stick to it and execute your plan. Do the work that you know will bring positive results. If you are not committed, then remove that activity. If you find you have eliminated all tasks because you are not committed, then you have to find new work.

Keeping focused and be deliberate with your actions will help keep you accountable to your plan. Make appointments with yourself to work on specific tasks. Allow enough time to focus on that project and complete it. Do not be tempted to do other things that you find more enjoyable when you are supposed to be making those sales calls. Your efforts will pay off!

Copyright 2011
Feel free to publish this article to your own site as long as you give credit: Maureen Kanwischer of Momemtum Business Consulting and link to my website: Thank you.