A clear process is a vital component of achieving success in business. A strong process can be the difference between achieving some business goals occasionally or all of your business goals all of the time.
Stimulating sustainable change starts with having a clear purpose, tapping into your teams emotions to get them engaged and willing to change, and is completed with a strategy process to make change happen—this is the essence of the 3P Change Equation.
Leaders need to ask themselves—How are you going to make your vision a reality? What is going to change? How is change going to happen? What does it look like? What new processes will be implemented as part of the overall change process?
There are countless processes in any organization—but the critical process missing in too many organizations is the process of accountability. A strong process of accountability ensures the organization delivers against expectations—internally and externally.
While many can get caught up with defining specific steps to achieve their desired change objectives, process is more about building accountability into the approach to change with a no excuse mindset.
3 Elements of a No Excuse Mindset
There are three key elements that make up a no excuse mindset: expectations, measuring the right things, and creating accountability.
1. Clear Expectations and Outcomes
Leaders need to establish clear expectations about what you want to accomplish and what success looks like. You need to understand your purpose and your motivation for change. Without this, you have no ability to track the success of your efforts and decision-making.
This can be accomplished by setting rules of engagement, setting non-negotiables and developing expectations as a team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Setting expectations as a team and soliciting their endorsement/agreement also ensures that leaders have permission to hold others accountable once change happens. If you make sweeping changes without the input of your team, it will be difficult for you to hold them accountable, especially if they are not aligned with your purpose, vision, or values. Establishing rules collectively makes it easier to hold each other accountable.
Once agreed upon, make sure everyone is clear on your new expectations, outcomes, and repercussions for not being accountable to these new guiding principles.
2. Measuring the Things that Drive Success
To ensure you are on the right path, it’s vital for leaders to measure the things that drive successful change. Leaders need to measure the right things—the key drivers of success—determine how they will be measured, how you can achieve your objectives, and finally, establish accountability.
One of the most common problems in creating a culture of accountability is knowing what to measure because what gets measured is what gets done. Therefore, if you are not measuring the right things, you will not meet your expectations. Make sure you are measuring the things that can be directly impacted – not the outcomes.
It’s important to focus on measuring leading indicators—things that we can control. This includes things like number of sales calls, invites sent to prospective members, and even engagement and participation at meetings.
Too often we focus on measuring trailing indicators—things we can do very little about such as sales and profitability, things that are a result of things that have already happened.
When you measure leading indicators you can have more impact on your team performance and look forward, as opposed to looking back.
For example, if you knew that speaking to 10 new people about your product or service, you would get 1 new customer—how many people do you need to speak to get 10 new customers? Obviously 100 new people. The outcome is driven by a leading indicator.
3. Creating Accountability
Accountability is one of the key issues in most organizations. Leaders need to hold themselves accountable just as diligently as they hold their team accountable. Rigorous accountability is the sign of a leader’s integrity, and this is needed to make accountability transparent and get your team to buy into the process.
There are three important elements of creating accountability to consider:
- Personal Accountability: Leaders must hold themselves accountable first. Walk the talk and back up what you say by being accountable to change first. Personal accountability is your integrity in action. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, then how can you expect others to? Whatever you behavior—you can expect people to model it.
- Team Accountability: Accountability needs to be a team effort. When you build a team of like-minded individuals—once you clearly set and agree to the expectations with the team, via a rules of engagement exercise—then the personal commitment and team dynamic often takes care of itself. Team members need to understand that when they don’t deliver, they don’t just let the organization down—they let their teammates down. And that personal, emotion connection with people is what really drives accountability. When you have clarity around the purpose you have the ability to build a cohesive team. But without this clarity across the organization—you can never achieve accountability.
- Transparent Accountability: Make sure that you hold yourself and your team accountable in a transparent manner. It could be something as simple as a weekly meeting to get feedback, track deliverables and discuss barriers. The key is to make sure it is built into your change process and not accept excuses for missed deliverables. The goal is to create real commitment to deliverables. To minimize hiccups—there will be hiccups—keep an open dialogue with your team so they feel safe sharing their issues and opportunities. You can never communicate too much, especially when making changes internally.
When the process of accountability is embedded into the organization—then you can expect a sustainable change in RESULTS.