When I was 30, I was extended an offer to serve as an Account Director at a small, start-up company. The CEO and Founder created a unique and accountable culture from the day he opened for business. The offer contained all the requisite language about the responsibilities and rewards, but what was most impactful was the last paragraph before the signature block, which said:
“This employment offer is based on Andy’s commitment to USI’s standard Business Practices and Operating Philosophy, including:
- Making commitments and keeping them
- Providing total quality in everything you do
- Being a team player
- Holding yourself accountable to the USI team and
- Holding the USI team accountable to you”
The company had a strong value proposition, but what was just as important was the culture. Healthy and competitive peer pressure emanated throughout the organization. When one person succeeded, the entire team succeeded. When one person failed, the entire team failed. Everyone went the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction was exceeded. Everyone understood the company’s vision and put the company’s interests first. Everyone delivered. The result was fast, profitable growth. In fact, we were selected as part of the Inc. 500, which are the fastest growing privately held companies in the country. We were sold to Johnson Controls four years later. I learned the most, accomplished the most and, as a partner, ultimately earned the most during my time at USI.
As a consultant, I bring this mentality to my clients. I want them to have the same sense of purpose that leads to great outcomes. One training I find valuable is called Mutual Accountability Partners. It is a process that enables peers to hold themselves accountable to one another, not just to their boss. On an ongoing, scheduled basis (typically weekly), two peers will meet to discuss and document items like:
- What HIGH IMPACT/INCOME tasks have I accomplished this week?
- What HIGH IMPACT/INCOME tasks do I intend to accomplish next week?
- What is ONE specific HIGH IMPACT or HIGH-INCOME task my accountability partner can help me with?
- What top 3 things have happened this week that I feel really good about?
- What did I set out to achieve this week but didn’t? How can I correct this?
- What specific challenges do I need help with? (And who can help me?)
- What new insights or realizations have I had this week?
When I implement this process with my clients, including several other elements, the level of performance increases almost immediately based on heightened transparency and accountability.