It’s no surprise that many private companies struggle to find the balance between ambition and accountability. After all, when you’re a small business, it’s hard to mimic the same results-based process of public companies. But if you want to continue growing your business and reaching higher goals, establish expectations and hold yourself accountable—just like the CEOs of public companies do. Here are some tips on how to fake it until you make it by creating an environment of accountability in your small business.
The first step is to set your goals and make them public. Publicizing your small business’s goals creates a sense of urgency and responsibility among executives. It also serves as a benchmark for progress and keeps you honest about reaching the stated objectives. We do this during our quarterly company-wide “vision meetings” so the whole company can track our progress on meeting goals. We celebrate milestones and shout out individuals who are making significant progress and if we’re behind on goals, and we communicate the plans we have to get back on track.
Next, it’s important to create a partnership team or internal board that holds the CEO accountable for meeting these objectives. This team should meet quarterly at a minimum. The idea is to have someone in the organization who has the authority to challenge ideas and hold people accountable if they are not living up to expectations.
You should also find outside parties who can provide constructive feedback on your progress toward meeting goals. This could be in the form of bankers, lawyers, or even other entrepreneurs who understand the challenges of running a small business. Having external advisors provides true accountability and more diverse opinions and solutions.
Finally, one of the most effective methods of holding yourself accountable is by forming an executive leadership team where no one is immune from taking ownership of results. A well-structured team allows each person’s strengths to shine through while holding themselves and others responsible for their actions. When everyone is held equally accountable for their performance, all members work together as a cohesive unit, driving growth within the company more effectively than any single leader could accomplish alone.
Small businesses need to create systems of accountability similar to those found in larger, publicly traded companies if they want to reach their ambitious goals. Whether it’s announcing targets publicly or bringing in outsiders for objective feedback, fostering an environment where each person owns up to their mistakes and successes helps set the foundation for sustainable success over time—all without having to go public!
For more on this topic, stream Season 2, Episode 9 of The Grow Show.