6 Steps to Build a Culture of Accountability

One of the challenges most entrepreneurs face is building a culture of accountability. As much as we want everyone to own their results, most employees can’t answer the three basic questions (who’s my boss, what’s my job, how do I know if I’m doing well). After many years of trial and error, here are the six steps I’ve learned to build a culture of accountability:

  1. Start by answering the three basic questions for every employee
  2. Decide on 3-5 operational metrics with goals that each employee owns and reports on weekly (e.g. story points, calls made, appointments set, marketing qualified leads generated, customer satisfaction scores, billable hours, revenue, etc.)
  3. Review the employee’s day-to-day/week-to-week work at a daily check-in or weekly team meeting along with their metrics
  4. Provide a central system (like a Google Sheet KPIs Dashboard) for each department with everyone’s metrics so that there is peer accountability and visibility
  5. Analyze the personal goals on a quarterly basis as part of the quarterly check-ins
  6. Tie everything together with the Simplified One Page Strategic Plan and help each employee understand how their goals align to the company’s goals

While this process seems straightforward, very few entrepreneurs actually implement this type of system. Why? It’s requires a tremendous amount of ongoing leadership and management, and most entrepreneurs don’t understand the value. The next time an entrepreneur expresses interest in growing faster and scaling more efficiently, ask them about their existing culture of accountability.

What else? What are some more thoughts on these six steps to build a culture of accountability?

4 thoughts on “6 Steps to Build a Culture of Accountability

  1. Hi David, I’m sure accountability is a big theme over on the West Coast now given the tightening financing environment. There was an article on this in WSJ yesterday entitled “For Silicon Valley, the Hangover Begins.” Do you mind posting your opinion sometime?

  2. Good starting points but this conflicts with the lean culture , points 2-3-4 specially is too much for a startup , but not having them totally may lead to flaws getting exposed too late , so a balanced template is the way forward .I shouldnt be making mere suggestions over someone’s else concrete effort.
    But at this phase of my startup I havent made my sheets like this , when I make them,use them perfect them, I will surely share with the community here for further improvement , until then if someone else has a more leaner but still documented template pls share .

  3. “While this process seems straightforward, very few entrepreneurs actually implement this type of system. Why? It’s requires a tremendous amount of ongoing leadership and management, and most entrepreneurs don’t understand the value.” Truer words are rarely spoken. I find entrepreneurs confusing activity with results. “Man I was crazy busy all day, but come to think of it…not productive.” Sigh.

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