‘Accountability ties commitment to results’ … this is true of anything. So who, or what, is keeping you accountable?
By Michael Mekhitarian
As human beings we can be our greatest allies, or our greatest enemies.
We have enormous potential — the capacity to dream big, to solve problems, and create phenomenal results.
… Or, we can procrastinate, fall prey to our limited perspectives, and completely sabotage our own success.
Where am I going with this? Well, let me tell you a story.
When Jim, Paul and I started ATB Partners many years ago, we dreamed of freedom. Quite simply, each of us wanted to service clients in our own unique way — not the way prescripted by other, bigger accounting firms. We wanted to be able to manage our own time — to have the flexibility to keep outside work commitments to family and friends. And we wanted to test our own potential, to face the challenges that come with running a business.
And here we are 25 years on.
What got us here?
But most importantly – accountability.
We kept each other focused and we were answerable to each other.
This is one of the core foundations of our success, and it is more often than not, where a lot of business owners fall down.
I’ve seen it a gazillion times … Families in business who are too ‘soft’ on each other. Solopreneurs who are only responsible to themselves and can dawdle and prolong anything, and often do. Business owners who are so busy doing the day-to-day that their self-imposed deadlines keep moving again … and again.
And then what happens? The business never reaches its full potential.
As an example, when we came up with the Five-Step Formula to Success, we considered it a good idea to turn this proprietary thinking into something concrete and worthwhile.
BUT, if the words didn’t get put down on paper, if the charts weren’t drawn up, if it wasn’t published into a free downloadable e-book it would still be just that — a good idea, a concept we’re still talking about, rather than the valuable small business resource that it has become.
We made it happen because we pushed and prodded and prompted each other and each of us contributed original ideas, giving it much wider input.
At some point you have to take action.
But it’s not always a good idea to be accountable only to ourselves, because we can make a million excuses in our own heads to justify why something hasn’t been done yet.
Being accountable to someone else makes all the difference. This is a key reason why having a business mentor is critical, particularly for start-ups and young, growing businesses … not only do you get the benefit of a mentor’s knowledge and experience, a mentor will make you accountable.
The benefits of having a mentor are endless, whether your annual turnover is $100k or $100m.
A mentor can help with big decisions like strategic planning and risk management, or with something as simple as helping you weigh up the pros and cons of a software implementation to streamline your processes, critiquing your funding proposal or grant application. Or taking your preferred job candidate out for a coffee to provide extra feedback on your selection.
That’s just the practical stuff.
A mentor can also take a big weight off your shoulders. I’ve said this before: ‘A problem shared, is a problem halved.’ Having an independent, external sounding board is invaluable when there are make-or-break issues to face. In fact, this year we’ve helped a number of business owners successfully navigate the chaos and disruption presented by Covid-19, and as a result their businesses are on a solid footing to move ahead – they won’t be casualties of the pandemic.
But, ultimately, a good mentor will stretch you. Personal growth is a critical component of business growth and success. You cannot expect your business to move forward, unless you too, are willing to embrace new ideas and perspectives, to upskill, to improve on what you already know.
The greatest athletes have coaches, the world’s best leaders have personal advisors, you too, should consider a mentor.
Mentoring is a service we offer, along with accounting, tax, and financial planning advice, so if you have questions or want to find out more, contact us.