Clarity is Kindness: Nice Leaders and Accountability

accountability business clearexpectations entrepreneurship leadership process adoption processdocumentation smallbusiness Oct 18, 2023
two professionals working on a project

I work with a LOT of nice leaders. Maybe it's my ties to the midwest or something. At the end of the day, these amazing people often put the needs of their team ahead of their own needs and frankly, the needs of the business. I coach them to drive RADICAL accountability in their business and remind them that "clarity is kindness". Those who embrace clarity, experience a business with a strong culture that gets consistent results. That same business also gives them the freedom they envision.

When we begin, one of the most common questions I am asked is, "How do I hold my team accountable?" Accountability is not something we can create. As leaders and managers, however there are leadership and management actions we can execute to drive accountability. One of the most fundamental strategies is setting clear expectations. Great resources include reading How To Be A Great Boss or taking the Great Boss Workshop. 

In the area of process documentation. It's essential to understand that all the documentation in the world won't matter if we can't ensure that our teams are accountable for using those processes. This is where setting clear expectations comes into play. 

Clear Expectations

When you, as a leader, make your expectations crystal clear, it provides a solid foundation for both process documentation and seamless adoption. Let's take a closer look at how this works:

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

Imagine you're eager to document your business processes. Whether it's onboarding new team members, managing projects, or ensuring customer support runs smoothly, one thing is certain: clarity is your top priority. To kickstart this journey, begin by defining the roles and responsibilities of each team member with precision.

This simple act ensures that everyone knows precisely what is expected of them within the context of their role. If your organization follows the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®), the Accountability Chart becomes a vital tool for this task. It clearly outlines who is responsible for what, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Connecting Expectations 

How does this relate to process documentation? When each team member understands their responsibilities, they can see how their role contributes to the company's overarching goals. In essence, the leader of a department becomes the owner of their processes. For example, the sales leader owns the sales process. They are not only responsible for their processes but also for creating relevant scorecards, driving accountability for and updating the related subprocesses, checklists, and flowcharts.

Driving Adoption 

When it comes to process adoption, clear expectations play a pivotal role. Your team understands what is expected of them when implementing these documented processes. They can see the clear roadmap to success, which significantly increases their willingness to embrace and execute the new systems.

Setting clear expectations serves as the bedrock for getting your processes documented, simplified, and followed by all. When done well, it unlocks the full potential of your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Accountability begins with clear communication and well-defined expectations. By ensuring that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, you pave the way for a culture of accountability where processes are not just documented but lived and breathed—followed by all—by every member of your team.

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