2 Steps To Better Accountability In Your Business

Accountability (1).jpg

Accountability is one of those things that as an entrepreneur, side hustler, and business builder you hear/read a ton about.

It’s almost impossible to flip through an your favorite business podcasts, blogs and even trade publications and not see something about accountability.

And for good reason!

There are probably hundreds of thousands of businesses that never get a fair shake because their founders couldn’t figure out how to keep themselves accountable.

Accountability lore is littered with bits and nuggets of productivity and business building science but, it’s something that you still struggle with. You read, research and consume everything you can so that you can hopefully do the things you said you would. It’s not always easy to get the work out of your head and into the hands and hearts of the people that need it the most.

Sound like you? A little bit? It’s definitely something I struggle with from time to time.

By the end of this post you will have two simple guidelines to follow to help keep you and your business running the way you want. This is not going to be one of those posts that tells you to put sticky notes on your mirrors and to announce your intentions to the universe.


Because it’s easy to ignore (or rationalize away) a note you posted and even easier to dismiss the universe because the universe is not someone (something?) that you interact intimately with on a daily basis.

When everything is going well in your business you don’t have to think about accountability. You are hitting the milestones you set for yourself, making progress on the goals you set for the business and you may even have repeat customers. It’s when things go a little unplanned, when your launch isn’t as big as you thought or when suddenly you have more competitors that you realized that you have to really lean on keeping yourself accountable as an entrepreneur.

It’s easy to walk away when things get hard. It’s easy to blame any number of externalities if your audience didn’t “get” what you were trying to put in front of them. What’s tough is picking your head up and looking around. What’s tough as an entrepreneur is figuring out how to hold yourself accountable.

Here’s the first step in holding yourself accountable:

1. Give up control.

When you, the person, are the business it’s easy to wake up everyday and change the rules a little bit. It’s harder to do that when you create and establish a business that has it’s own, well communicated, values, mission and strategy for growth. I know it might sound arbitrary if you are a solopreneur or part of a really early stage joint venture but stay with me. When you are out in the world talking to people and engaging with them online, part of what they see is the business that you are representing. Authenticity really starts to take hold when you, the person, mirror what you’re telling the people you interact with what is important to your business. Armed with the knowledge that most people decide to do business with those that they know, like and trust, how you align who you are personally deciding to do each day with what your business claims you do creates a nice feedback loop. Actions always speak louder than words - unless their written words online..then it’s an action, may be. This is not openly telling the universe to hold you accountable. Giving up control forces you to keep yourself accountable because every decision you make is going to be measured against your claims of the business and scored by everyone you interact with.

Just thinking about that dynamic gives me the accounta-goosebumps.

The second rule I’m adapting from my friends in the Lean Startup scene.

2. Validated Learning.

Your business is probably going to change as time passes. Your customers tastes and expectations will change. The technology you choose will change. Your business model might even change. All that is ok and necessary for you to keep your business relevant in the eyes of the people you are trying to serve. Validated learning is important here because it’s a concept that gives you permission to create hypotheses about what’s going on the world around you, take little risks, plan experiments and apply what you learn for the betterment of your business. Validated learning acts as mini booster shots for your accountabilities immune system. It does this because every time an opportunity comes up to apply something you learn in your business you have a choice. You can choose to make the change, that’s holding yourself accountable, or you can choose to do nothing and continue to run your business with systems, processes or products that don’t work so well.

If you are serious about building a better business and earning better profits why wouldn’t you apply the things you learn?! When you build validated learning into your business you are essentially tricking yourself into holding you accountable. It’s a beautiful thing!

These are two very real things you can start to do right now that will force you to take better actions in your business. I’m pretty sure no one likes to be micromanaged but if it’s your business that is micromanaging you it might be ok and validated learning takes the choices almost right out of your hands. So figure out how to structure your first few ideas to test and get (even more) clear on what your business stands for and get to work!

If You Want Business Growth You Need Accountability


Hi everyone! I’m Nunzio and you’re watching Manager Minutes: Episode 3. In this series it’s my goal to help you close the gap between what you planned to do to grow your business and what you’re actually doing in the business - in 5 minutes or less..
In this episode I want to cover accountability and how I’ve been seeing a lack of it lately.
If you’re trying to grow your business you need to be accountable for your actions. If you’re expecting success I can tell you that it WILL NOT come unless there’s some kind of activity attached to it. You can’t keep blaming your setbacks and false starts to externalities. It’s not the world’s job to remind you how to run your business. 
No one owes you attention. No one owes you referrals and no one owes you success. 
You have to put your big boy or big girl plants on and decide if what you’re doing is worth your continued efforts. You also have to decide if you actually care about the goals you set for yourself.
If deep down in your squishy bits the goals you have on paper aren’t really the things that motivate you then you’ll never be able to hold yourself accountable. 
My challenge for you today is to look for sources of feedback in your business. Are there things that are happening or not happening that you can draw some kind of inference from. If stuff is going how you planned and your response is just posting all kinds of success quotes all over social media then you need to stop - and get to doing more of the work that matters. Look for the levers that you can push or pull that will support you working towards some kind of goal. 
Moral of the story here is to strengthen your accountability you have to start doing (and measuring) the work you keep telling people you’re doing. 
I’m Nunzio you’ve just finished Manger Minutes: Episode 3 and I’ll see you in the next one.

How Accountability Helps You Succeed

Do you have an accountability partner?

Having a great strategy or business model is only part of the process of building a successful business. You need someone to help keep you accountable and push you on your journey. Your accountability partner is the person(s) that keeps you moving forward, tells you when you mess up, looks out for you when you are venturing into new territory, and offers a different (objective) perspective. That can be a single person, a group of people, or even an online community.

In this post you see the 5 most important things you need to look for in an accountability partner. 

One quick clarification - this is about finding an accountability partner for your business. There are lots of versions of "accountability partners" that run a spectrum of interpersonal needs and various configurations, I will be covering exactly none of those. 

1. Empathy + Commitment.

You need to find someone who understands your story. They might not have to agree with your values or your core “why” but they have to acknowledge that what your business is doing is important. The same goes for you strategy and why you are looking for someone to help you stay accountable. They have to be committed to helping you take the actions and make the choices you need to make to grow your business. It will definitely be less than helpful if your accountability partner isn’t reliable in providing you feedback and constructive advice. Kind of defeats the purpose. 

2. Challenging.

They need to be challenging. What I mean by challenging is that they will do their best to ask you the hard questions about how you are moving your business forward. That doesn’t mean they have to question each and every piece of your strategic framework but a good accountability partner will not let you slip on deadlines or deliverables without a fight. Remember you asked them to help keep you in check because you needed some help with your accountability - try not to lash out when they are holding you to it!

3. Open and earnest conversation.

Your accountability partner needs to get to know you a little bit. It’s important to have conversations around what motivates you, any weaknesses you have, and what your goals are for this relationship. Trust is a big part of this so make sure the person you choose is comfortable with having these conversations with you. You also need to set expectations early on for everyone involved because this about helping you take action in your business and you are leaning on someone that is potentially on the outside for help. 

4. Decide on metrics.

My all time favorite saying is - What gets measured, gets managed. This absolutely applies here too! You are getting someone to help keep you accountable, it’s important that you are tracking your successes and failures so that your accountability partner knows how to best motivate you. Deciding on metrics includes deciding on how frequently they will be checking in on you too. You should be setting times to meet or chat regularly with preset metrics you are working on so that you can report efficiently and work on the things you need the most help with. 

5. Take responsibility.

As a business owner it can be almost too easy to blame your business woes on any number of externalities. That has to stop. Unless there is an absolute market meltdown you have a lot of power in how your business is perceived and the responses you make to what’s going on in the economy around you. Successful strategy is about choices and allocating resources. It’s about taking action and measuring results. It’s about iteration. Those are all things you can take responsibility for and it’s how your accountability partner is going to push you to being a better business owner. 

Everything in this post can be applied to what you might be looking for in an accountability partner or even mentor. If you are a part of a larger organization and are working on your department's strategy look for some senior leadership or even a colleague to help you up your implementation game.  Accountability partners can be an amazing resource and you shouldn’t think that having one means you are showing weakness. If it says anything at all, having an someone to help make you better can only be seen as a strength. 

If you are struggling to find someone you can trust feel free to reach out to me! I am always willing to help entrepreneurs that want to get better.