Entrepreneurship. Is there a hotter, more long-standing “buzz” word than entrepreneurship? This word has been buzzing for ages. Just stop for a moment and think about all the emotions that entrepreneurship drums up:
- Independence- you’re in charge!
- Leadership- find your own way to success!
- Imagination- craft that innovative solution.
- Challenge- the risks are yours to bear.
But you know what word we don’t hear enough about? Accountability. Now, at first glance accountability might seem like a dirty word. At the very least, it’s not a particularly sexy word. But when it comes to entrepreneurship, there might not be a more important word.
So What is Accountability Anyway?
When you’re accountable, you’re responsible. Take goals, for example. As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to meet those goals. It’s not your bosses job (because you’re the boss!), it’s not your clients or customers’ job either. It’s your job and you have to be accountable.
What if mistakes happen? Accountability comes into play once again. You have to own those mistakes. No one is perfect, you will make mistakes along the way to success. Someone who is accountable, however, will learn from them.
What Accountability Isn’t
We can also define accountability by what it isn’t. Accountability isn’t keeping everything secret. If you’re going to be accountable, other people need to hold you accountable. That means they need to know what your goals and aims are.
Accountability Will Keep You Motivated
If you’ve ever launched a project, or at least considered launching a small business that can be started at home, you probably remember those early moments of unadulterated optimism. Everything is going to work out, all the pieces will fall into place. It’s going to be a smash success. Then reality hits.
Things don’t go as planned, problems emerge, you fall behind schedule, customers flake out. So many problems can emerge. And if you’re trying to rely solely on that initial jolt of motivation, you’ll quickly find yourself running out of steam.
However, if you’re being accountable, you’re going to continue to make progress. You’ve got goals to meet and even if challenges emerge, you’ll strive towards achieving your goals anyways. Maybe you won’t achieve everything but regardless, you will move forward. As a side note, writing down your goals helps a lot and you should definitely consider doing it if you haven’t yet.
And if you start falling behind, or worse, giving up, your team will hold you accountable. Since your team knows your goals, they can prod you to keep moving towards completion.
When you’re accountable, you don’t want to let your team down. Or your investors. Or customers. And just as importantly, you don’t want to let yourself down either.
So How Do I Become Accountable?
We already mentioned that sharing your goals and ambitions is an important step for being accountable. That is very important, but it’s not enough. A lot more goes into being accountable. Let’s take a look.
Accountability usually doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow process. You need to learn to set goals and to outline them clearly. These goals shouldn’t be all-but-impossible to achieve. At the same time, they shouldn’t be easy to achieve. These goals should fall somewhere in the middle. Think reasonable but challenging.
You already know what comes next: share those goals! Share them with your business partner, or your business coach, or perhaps your spouse. Why not all three? Share them with the work team as well, it’s a good way to improve your team’s productivity, knowing the overall goal of a business motivates employees to work together for achieving it.
Now, you have to strive towards those goals. At times, forks in the road will emerge. Easy ways out or short cuts. Avoid those. Resist the temptation! Most entrepreneurs learn early on that dedication is as important as genius insights.
Sure, sometimes goals change. If you’re changing goals, however, it should usually be because accomplishing the old goal will no longer be beneficial to your company or ambitions. It’s important that you’re honest with yourself.
Don’t blow off goals because you don’t want to accomplish them. This is how you end falling behind and getting off track. Instead, stay honest with your ambitions and thus your goals. Then work towards them and hold yourself accountable.
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