Startup Resources: Accountability Manual for Entrepreneurs

By Fernando Berrocal

Even though diverse types of books, blogs, and magazine articles clearly emphasize the need for responsibility in accountability, different teams and businesses continue to suffer. Frequently, leaders have issues answering to different types of troubles because they lack the necessary abilities and tools to properly manage their employees. However, it doesn't have to be difficult. You have to believe in your abilities in this area. One thing that you are going to learn through the years is that it all begins with you and yourself. The mirror is your closest friend as a leader in your organization: What are you doing to hold yourself accountable? You can't expect others to "walk your talk" if you aren't prepared to commit to doing so yourself. 

Some techniques and strategies related to deal with startup accountability are the following:

Accountability Principles:  

Whether you're in the early phases of your business, when there's nowhere to hide, or later down the road, when things may get muddy, the fundamentals of responsibility will remain the same.

Hold yourself to a Higher Standard:  If you, the founder of the startup, are not fully committed to the accounting process, no one else will be. "It's not my job to do so."  It's not a phrase you'll ever have to say in this context. “How can I help?” you could be asking as you can be rolling up your sleeves. “What can we do to put things right?” says the narrator, or maybe better, you can ask “How can I help you better next time?”

Accountability Manual for Entrepreneurs



Clearly Define your Goals:  This is arguably the most difficult aspect of establishing an accountability culture. You will confuse your startup team and fail to get the job done if you get the objective incorrect. Take your time to fully comprehend what you're attempting to do. Determine what you truly want to accomplish, and then make sure your objective is time-bound and quantifiable to have a record that you’re accomplishing your goals.

Align Goals with Your Overall Strategy: If the organization’s goal is to generate millions of dollars in revenue, then each team and its members should set goals to help achieve that objective. A pipeline aim should be set for the sales team. Reduced turnover should be a goal for the service staff team. The marketing department should set a target to create the necessary resources for the selling process. The legal team's objective might be to complete sales contracts in less than 48 hours.

Make a Dashboard for your Data:  Make a list of your objectives, discuss them with others, and revisit them regularly. After a quarter, the last thing you should want is for someone to show up with a total miss. You would want to observe the trends as they develop so that you may act and assist alter the path before it's too late. This may be as straightforward as creating a weekly or monthly stoplight chart in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

Trust but Double-Check: You should employ outstanding individuals and then delegate authority to them to do their tasks. You expect to believe in them when they claim they're going to finish a task. However, it is still your job as a manager to keep them accountable for finishing the work and, more importantly, for achieving the high standards we set for ourselves for the good of the business.

Accountability Manual for Entrepreneurs



It isn't difficult to create a responsible culture and organization, but it does take time. It isn't always simple, but consistency is the most effective method to implant this behavior into your startup's DNA. It becomes busywork if you don't take the time to evaluate the data and give relevant comments. You should be accountable to your teams – you must examine yourself in the mirror. If you set out time each week, month, or quarter to review progress, your staff will not only cooperate, but will actively seek out ways to improve.

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