Accountability can be one of the hardest things to get right when running a company. While there are number of reasons why I started a company, the root of it all is that I am an ambitious person who wants to accomplish and succeed. It was put there in me, and I can’t shake it.
Being ambitious can put you on an island. Not everyone is wired the same way. And as much as I am ambitious, I also care for people. I want to treat them well.
When it comes to accountability, I fight this battle in my head. Do I push, or do I create room to grow? I think it can be both.
One solution to this problem is to only surround myself with ambitious people. People who want something for themselves see opportunity in executing on company goals because doing so will get them closer to their goals.
Another is I can either inspire ambition and feed it by setting a target and holding people accountable for hitting the targets. Both options are viable. The second option opens up more doors, especially with the workforce trends in the marketplace where there is very jaded and uninspired generation of people becoming the largest segment fo the workforce.
I have to create a culture where people can’t hide. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I have made in running my company. I assume that everyone is wired like me. The reality is they will think things are important that I care nothing about and ignore the things I think are important. It’s not deliberate. It’s just because they are wired differently.
In order to have accountability, I have to do 2 things.
First, I have to teach what’s important.
Second, I have to follow up to make sure those things are being executed on.
The more important, the more often they need to be followed up on.
Because in order to execute on a vision and dream, my company culture must have accountability. I have to set the expectation. I have to make it clear that when the expectation is not met, it is NOT OK. This can be uncomfortable for people, especially if they are hiding. But this is how to keep people from being able to hide.
The questions I need to be constantly asking, answering, and executing on are as these:
- How to I push people to grow without hurting their spirit/positivity/etc.
- How do I teach people to be ambitious, and should I only hire ambitious people?
- What is really important to me and to the company?
- What do I need to follow up on more deliberately?
- Who do I need to talk to because their lack of ambition is hurting their future at my company?
I can’t afford to have a culture where people can hide. I can’t have a culture that is brought down by unambitious team members. I can’t have a team of people who do not know what is important. In order to execute on this, I need to set clear expectations of what is acceptable and unacceptable (including having ambition). I need to decide on what I want to follow up on, and then relentlessly follow up on it.
Also published on Medium.