Thomas Edison once stated, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” There’s certainly wisdom in applying Edison’s principle to the many aspects of running your company. That’s especially true regarding accountability, which is one ingredient that motivates employees to strive. Establishing accountability is something that comes with the territory of being in a leadership role, and it’s necessary for a company’s survival. However, it’s mostly so overlooked as a part of an organization’s dynamic that the CEO may neglect his or her due diligence in implementing and staying true to an accountability system. Holding your employees accountable, as well as yourself, is as important as every other role you have as the head of your company.
As CEOs, we never set out to fail. We try our hardest to make sure that the best content we learn from books and seminars is implemented into our company. However, good intentions can get us only so far. Our success depends on our ability to implement what we learn, and that’s where we too often fall short.
Do you want to boost production or ensure that there aren’t fundamental problems in your company’s work flow? For many CEOs, the problem isn’t in formulating a plan of accountability – it’s consistently adhering to it over time. Too many business leaders experience a loss in steam after a few supercharged months. When CEOs do not stay true to a new policy, it teaches employees to simply wait out proposed changes that they find inconvenient. In the long run, this can taint your company’s culture and make positive, sustainable change unlikely.
Discipline starts at the top. The importance of holding people accountable starts with you. It’s the CEO who dictates the culture of accountability, or defaults to the lack of one. Without discipline and accountability, an organization will never perform to its full capabilities. We often associate discipline with doling out punishment. I like to think of it as imposing order or a code of conduct. Over time the goal is for the discipline you install to become a self-regulating activity within the organization, keeping your discipline place when your motivation isn’t. Self-discipline takes over when we don’t feel up to the tasks of the day, but we do them anyway. It’s what keeps our employees showing up to work, and our companies maintaining success.
Perhaps you know you need a new or updated accountability system, but what if you don’t have the time or, frankly, personality to implement one? The answer depends upon who leads the business – the CEO or COO. Will you as the CEO of the company be the driver of discipline, or will the responsibility rest with the COO or some other operations manager? It all depends on how you run your business. You don’t have to oversee a system of accountability personally, but you do have to make sure the job is getting done.
The moral of the story (or blog post) is that a successful company – and a successful life – is contingent upon accountability. Each individual is responsible for their own actions. But the success or failure of an organization, whether that’s a few employees or thousands, ultimately rests at the feet of the CEO. Your employees may not enjoy a new policy establishing or furthering accountability, but they will respect you for it, and greater success is likely.