Who, What, Why, and When of Accountability

One area many entrepreneurs struggle with, especially first-time entrepreneurs, is holding team members accountable. Many entrepreneurs are so focused on whatever it is they do well (e.g. sales, product management, fundraising, etc.) that they naturally neglect the operating side of the business. This can be OK early on but as the startup grows, and the number of people on the team grows, it becomes a real challenge.

A simple exercise is to make a Google Sheet answering the Who, What, Why, and When of accountability:

  • Who – Who is responsible for this (the name of the person — make it one person and not multiple people)?
  • What – What is it that this person must do?
  • Why – Why is this important for the organization?
  • When – When is this due (make it a fixed date or a recurring event e.g. these KPIs need to be put in the spreadsheet every Friday by 2pm)?

Much like the Weekly Team Update email, developing basic business processes is critical as the business scales. For entrepreneurs struggling with accountability, implementing a simple system that answers the who, what, why, and when questions can really help.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the who, what, why, and when of accountability?

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