Last month in The Beacon we discussed focus, one of the most important disciplines in successful execution. This month I want to focus on Accountability, but before we get into that I’m going to briefly cover off a very important tool – the SWOT Analysis.
The SWOT Analysis identifies positive and negative influences on your business originating from inside the organisation (Strengths and Weaknesses) and from outside (Opportunities and Threats). Its purpose is to help you identify factors you can take advantage of, or ones you need to mitigate, in order to successfully complete your priority actions. You should review this analysis quarterly and only include the five most important factors in each category. Only include factors that you can act on – “plummeting exchange rate” is a threat I sometimes come across, but as I have not yet been engaged by the Reserve Bank, I have never met anyone who can fix it, so it doesn’t make the cut.
The willingness to focus on just a few key actions at a time is the biggest differentiator between teams that can execute and teams that can’t. The second most important is the willingness to be individually accountable for actions. Mediocre teams prefer to hide in a group – “we’re all in this together.” At the end of the quarter failure, confusion, finger-pointing and sometimes scapegoating reign. Co-accountability is no accountability.
When someone is accountable for something, it means they are on the line for the end result. Doing their best, or putting in a good effort, is not good enough. They have to make sure the Action is completed. Part of the deal is that you give them all the resources, time and support they need to get these actions done. Plus, encouragement to sing out as soon as they encounter obstacles. Team members who don’t have an action of their own proactively seek out those that do and offer their time and resources to perform some of those tasks. These teams know that they really are all in this together – it’s just that they have clarity about who’s on point for what.
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by Chris Bunce
Chris has 28 years’ experience as a management consultant and business coach. During this time he has worked with clients in many industries and of all shapes and sizes, including some in Australia, Asia and the US. Nowadays he is passionate about improving the lives of Aucklanders by helping business owners to master the very few management practices that actually make a difference to their success. Chris lives in Blockhouse Bay with his wife, Cathie, having lived in or around the area for most of his life.