236: Smart Accountability for Entrepreneurs
Do you struggle with accountability, either for yourself or with members of your team?
If you don't have accountability for results in your business, you'll never be able to get out of the weeds and grow.
The secret to creating real accountability is to go deeper than most leaders go, and tap into Smart Accountability.
In this episode you will discover:
- The problem with accountability the usual way, and why it often backfires
- How to facilitate smart accountability in your business, so you don't need to check in on your people all the time
- A happy side effect for your work relationships you might not have thought of
If you are committed to building a high-performing company that is aligned to your vision and values, check out our new program, Grow Smooth. You will learn how to support your team not just with their accountability, but in all of the ways that matter—from marketing to sales, to creating systems and processes that help your company grow and your people thrive.
Erin Aquin 0:01
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase where business owners like you learn the tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to episode number 236, smart accountability for entrepreneurs. Hello, welcome to the show. We got a good one today. I feel like I think that every time I always think what we're about to say is gonna be great. But this one especially, is a topic that has been coming up a lot of my VIP one on one clients, and in some of the groups that Steve and I coach it. So Hi, Steve, what are we talking about today?
Steve Haase 0:55
Hey, Erin. Hello, everyone, we're talking about accountability. Because unless it's just you, accountability is how work gets done. And even if it is just you, sometimes we all need that little boost for following through on our commitments on our ideas that accountability can give us. So this is going to help you delegate better to people on your team, it's going to help you get better results from the people that are working with you. It's going to help you coach people on your team to help them perform at a higher level. And it's gonna help you come through, especially when things are kind of tough or when you don't know if you can make it accountability can be that extra boost. And we're qualifying it here by calling it smart accountability, because we've really pinpointed that there are two different kinds of accountability. I'm not sure what the first one is the opposite of smart, we're not going to call it stupid accountability. It might be like thin accountability, or surface accountability. And then there's smart accountability that goes much deeper. So that's what we're going to open up for you today. Erin, what is surface accountability? And what's what's the problem with it?
Erin Aquin 2:15
I think surface accountability is when someone is doing something because they're afraid they're gonna get in trouble if they don't. It totally works. I mean, as parents have we not tried this, all of us. I remember early on in my coaching, business, confessing to my coach that I felt so horrible that I needed accountability. Like I needed to say things out loud to other people, I needed to tell her what I was going to do this week. And then I just felt like a deficient person. And I remember her kind of laughing and saying, Well, it sounds like you're using it in a way that's taking you forward. You're not using it against yourself, which I think shallow accountability or thin accountability is something people do. But she really showed me that you don't need to have inherent desire and 24 hours a day inspiration to get things done, especially when you know if you're if you run a business, not everything we're doing is super fun. You know, I do need accountability to my accountant to get our books done. Actually, Steve does Steve handles all that good stuff. But if I want to do something hard accountability is such a powerful motivator or it can be if you use it right. In my personal life right now. I'm doing a six week weight training program. And I could totally just do it. I know I'm capable of doing these sorts of things. I've done them periodically. But I wanted that extra layer and sort of camaraderie. So my best friend and I are doing it together and we text each other every day I send her like Wonder Woman memes and pro wrestler memes. When I haven't done my workout, hopefully she finds funny. Maybe she doesn't, but she hasn't told me. And it's just a way of making something that is hard. A little bit more fun. Like it's something hard, I want to do it. But it's more fun to me and I'm more committed because I know that she's out there working hard alongside me. And we're gonna be like comparing our biceps later on. All in good fun.
Steve Haase 4:41
Yeah, and I just want to pull out one of the threads there which is that you're using accountability, to bring a habit of practice that you want in your life more regularly into your life and to have more fun with it to have another person that you can share it with. As humans we are social beings. We want someone else, right? Since since we're tiny children, one of the first words is, look, look at me, I'm doing this, right. And so having that other person who says, Yes, I see that you did it, that's awesome, is a motivator. And so if that's a motivator to you, if connecting with someone about those things, is motivational, then do it, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, huge businesses have been built just on that, I will be your accountability partner, you do the writing, you send me your 250 words a day, and I send you the thumbs up back. So if that works for you, fantastic. There are some downsides, though, to relying on an external source for that kind of feedback and validation. And I want to explore those for a minute. I've had the experience of doing 30 Day Challenge is like, Okay, we're gonna do this challenge, and posting my successes in the group, like, Okay, I'm gonna do the challenge, and share my wins. And nailing it day after day after day, and I'm just, you know, I'm in a groove, I got this brand new habit, everything's amazing. And then at the end of the 30 days, or, you know, whatever the period of being involved in the group is done, just disappears, just floats away on the wind. And I'm like, Okay, so did I actually want to do that? Or was I just caught up in a group fervor over a particular thing? And the answer was more of the latter, I got the benefits from doing it, you know, whether it was meditation or eating, you know, healthy foods, or whatever it was, I got the benefits of doing the thing. But I wasn't able to tap into my own desire for it, my own commitment to it to myself for myself. And that is the difference between surface accountability, and deep accountability or smart accountability. So finding that place where you do, tap into the love for yourself, the desire to explore that thing, for your business, for your life, that is when you drop to a deeper level, and you start to make it your own. And when you can help someone on your team do that as well. Then you've won, right? Because then you don't have to be the person saying, here's the checklist. Did you do step one of the checklists? Did you do step two of the checklist, right? You're not? What holding someone's hand forever. You're finding somebody's own desire, not just to do the checklist, but to make the checklist better. And then to get rid of the checklist to actually say, here's how I'm doing it. So let's come up with a new checklist. Let's take this to the next level, because that accountability is living within them, rather than something that you're needing to drive. So that's where we want to get eventually.
Erin Aquin 7:55
And I mean, the thing is, it sounds interesting, but in, in practice, I think it's actually quite hard. I think that is why so many people will will take on more surface styles of trying to hand out accountability. Like it's just so much easier to put a bot in your Slack channel that says, Did you connect with six of your clients today? Yes or no. That is that is just easy. Like you can just build an accountability in an automated system. But if you're ever hoping to take that person, that team member and turn them into an executive, there's no slack bot for that. You know, you're you're not actually as a leader, teaching people how to find their motivation. You're not teaching people how to be thoughtful, intentional, and make the things better, you know, you will end up with worker bees, which a lot of our businesses need, there's nothing wrong with worker bees. But if you want to bring people up through your company, which I know a lot of us do, you're not really doing your team any favors when your accountability is something that's a little bit checklist, like
Steve Haase 9:17
another interesting thing with accountability, if we zoom back even more, if we zoom out even more, is that sometimes a lot of the time actually, accountability is kind of missing is like, I don't know, I hired them to do the work. They said it's taking longer than it should so I'm gonna yell at them and try to get sooner or I'm just gonna let them be because they're great and I don't want to get them upset. That is called an absence of accountability. Accountability means you decide in advance when something is due, what level it should look what level it should be at to be considered done. You decide what good looks like Like, those are the pre conversations that are required for any level of accountability, shallow or deep. And let's also be clear that when we say shallow or deep, we're not making value distinctions here. Shallow accountability is still really good, especially at an organization that doesn't have any accountability, which many don't. But you may think you have accountability. But ask yourself this. Does each person on your team know what it looks like to deliver at a high level in their job? Do they know when each thing that they're expected to do should be done by? Could they write their own job description? And would you agree that that's what their job is? If the answer to any of those things is no, then you're missing even that top level of accountability, which putting that in place is going to transform your relationship with your people, you're going to allow them to be far more independent. It's the it's the starting point for deeper accountability is knowing what it looks like to win the game, what it looks like to perform at an excellent level to perform at a very high level.
Erin Aquin 11:16
Because I think at the end of the day, even though I know a lot of people don't like this word, but accountability is really a path to empowerment. You know, when someone on your team is really understand what they're there to do, and what it means to win. And then they figure out the best way to do that. Thank you have you have a worker bee, you have, like, a seriously amazing person on your team who can grow with you. You know, we're going to be talking about this a lot throughout the year in our gross Move program. Because I think it's probably one of the number one challenges of both solopreneurs who are trying to bring people on and businesses that have some staff, some have have some people who work in the business, the accountability headache, that so many people feel that comes down to often a lack of understanding, a lack of communication on the part of the leader, that's probably you, the leader who's supposed to make those distinctions clear and share what the expectations are. And then trusting that you've figured it out with the people on your team in a way where they feel empowered, and they understand. And hey, if you have a, we have a Slack bot, we you know, every Friday we are every day, we post our wins for each other, and it's super fun. But I think for me, at least I can't speak for every business owner. But for me at least, I don't like to use accountability as the only way I'm gonna get something done. Is it a fun thing I can use? Does it give me a little lift, it's like a little, you know, it's a little boost. But it shouldn't be my strategy for me to get something done or anyone I work with to get something done. So I think smart accountability is when it's just another useful tool that will add to the motivation. Rather than all you got going yelling at people about what you expect of them that you've never told them. All that all that stuff, which happens, unfortunately.
Steve Haase 13:53
So if you want to create more smart accountability in your life, here's what you do. You first, pinpoint the thing that would make the difference that you've that you want to be doing. But you're not following through on. You decide what is that lantern that you want to light that next milestone in your life could be a business, one could be a personal one, it doesn't matter because you're going to be working on the same muscle, the same kind of activity no matter what it is. So pick something that is top of mind. It's something that bugs you on a daily basis. Once you've decided what that thing is, then figure out what the future state is going to look like. What do you want that thing to be like three months from now six months from now? Let's say it's having a consistent email strategy. You want to develop your relationship with the people that know about your business. You want to bring them closer to you. Think about what those emails are going to look like what your list in that community 80 of people who are receiving your emails, what is that going to look like in three months. Once you have a clearer picture of where it is that you want to go, then you're going to know what some of those daily activities, weekly activities that you'll need to start prioritizing will be. And that's where the accountability comes in. So once you have those things in place, you can start surface, you say, Who do I want to tell? When I complete it? Who do I want to make a declaration to that I'm going to do this, that I'm gonna send these weekly emails, you can send it to us on Instagram, we're over at besuperabound. We'd love to see what kind of cool things you are committing to and doing in your business, bring that other person in, make it fun, send Wonderwoman memes or whatever other memes you're into. So that it starts to become a pattern starts to become a habit. And then as you're doing that, ask yourself, what is the deeper purpose behind this? Why does this matter to me and to the people that I'm trying to influence the people that I want to create better relationships with that I want to bring closer into my business? Why does this matter? As you do that, combining your weekly habit with the purpose that underlies it is going to start to transition from that accountability from a surface one, where you're just doing it and telling someone that you did it to something deeper, where it becomes part of who you are, and why you are here and why you're doing business. Three months from now, after sending us your means and thinking about why it matters, you will have created those roots that go into your heart and mind as an entrepreneur. And then that accountability will become one that you are generating from within. So when you hire a marketing person, or when you hand that task off to someone else on your team, you can do the same thing, right, start with the surface, and then find a way for them to turn it into something that they are into. How does it become a game? How does it become their own personal challenge? How does it become something that brings meaning and value to their life and the lives of your customers. That's how you transition from shallow to deep, smart accountability.
Erin Aquin 17:28
So awesome, I actually want to just add a bonus bonus round. If the accountability partner or the accountability situation that you set up, also has a payoff to it. That is extra awesome. And what I mean by that is if you like you know, I'm doing this workout thing, the bonus to having an accountability partner in my best friend is that I'm texting my best friend more. You know, we're we're in touch every day. And we're both pretty busy, we both run businesses, so we don't talk like often, until we're like getting together, we're gonna see each other. So the bonus is I also get the little dopamine hit from seeing her name pop up on my phone, that's good for me, I have clients that do this. And I always tell them that if they want to use me their coach as their accountability partner for something, they get the added benefit of being able to go so much deeper. In their coaching, they get extra coaching from me, they're in touch with me more, I get to see things and help them with blockages maybe before they're even consciously aware of them. So you know, they get more out of their their coaching. So I don't know how it will work for you. And maybe it's not true in every case. But I think that's one of the benefits potentially. Smart accountability also includes deepening your relationship or deepening what you're getting out of something that you've invested in. So I was trying to look for that too.
Steve Haase 19:08
I love it. And the path that includes stronger relationships is such a bonus. Not even a bonus. It's just the good. That's the goodness that's the good stuff. So one way that we are offering this kind of accountability to our clients, even if you don't work with us in a one on one setting is through our new program grow smooth. If your business is feeling stalled growth smooth is the jumper cables to get you going again, grow smooth, we'll help you eliminate the bottlenecks in your business in six key areas so that you can reach your next milestone. One of the most exciting parts about the program is that we are backing you up with a community the entire time so you can hop in there. Share what you're up to what you need accountability with. We're going to help you go from surface which is where you begin all the way down to deep so that you can drive it for yourself all the way to a smart accountability that you can own. iterate on, and bring to your team and business. Head over to besuperabound.com/grow to learn more, and join us there.
Erin Aquin 20:21
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai