Why accountability is so important
The odds are stacked against a family business achieving long-term success for a number of reasons. One of the best ways for the family to increase their chances is to teach every family member the importance of taking personal accountability for their results. Think of any successful sports team — in order to win every player has to do their part.
Accountability is at the core of building trust
Accountability is also about consistency and reliability, which are two cornerstones of trust. Trust is an important element of long-term business success.
It can be easy to get lulled into a sense of security based upon past family business performance
I know firsthand how it feels to be raised in a long-term successful family business. While many years of experience says a lot about the business, it really isn’t a guarantee of future success. In fact, as most business owners know, the minute you take your eye off the ball someone or some competitor will be there to take your customers.
Family leaders need to instill humility and determination in the next generation at an early age
It’s natural to want your children to reap the benefits of the family’s hard work and success, but the family needs to be careful not create too much comfort and security. The family leaders need to convey the message that work ethic and focus are the key to sustainable success.
Where accountability can start showing up in a family
Having had the chance to work with lots of successful families over the past 20 years, I’ve seen what high levels of accountability look like:
- Having part-time jobs during at an early age
- Being responsible for paying for a first car, insurance etc.
- Being required to be in sports or other school activities
- Achieving certain levels of success in high school
- Requiring next-gen to work outside the family business after college
What accountability looks like in action
- Making clear requests with clear timeframes
- Letting people know if you are going to miss your commitment and re-committing
- Making responsible complaints when someone doesn’t deliver
What stops a family from embracing accountability
- Being afraid to hurt the relationship
- Emotional blackmail – being punished by someone for trying to hold them accountable
- Inconsistent application
Reflection questions for you and your family
- How would you rate your family’s culture of accountability?
- What gets in the way of accountability in your family?
- How’s accountability impacting your family business success? Or family harmony?
Coach’s Insight – Accountability is quick predictor of future success!
When I’m fortunate enough to find strong accountability, I know I’ll have family members who will do the work, build the skills and have a high chance of success. Conversely, when they “talk a good game” yet can’t do what they say they are going to do, I know the family may be destined for failure. If you want success – get good at being accountable!
If you want to see Coach Pete in action here’s his short video on how important accountability is in your family business. Watch here.
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Certified Coach in Phoenix, Arizona, and the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. Check out Coach Pete’s free tools: the Family Business Landmine Detection Map and the Family Business Survival Kit. Accountability is one the 50 skills that are a part of his strength and conditioning program for business leaders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.