Entrepreneur Taking Accountability

Accountability is one thing you need to embrace as an entrepreneur because you are in control of more than you know. When you’re a business owner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming things outside your control. But now you’re the boss and you get to make decisions that impact your business.

Negative feedback

Earlier this week I received some negative feedback about my work. My first reaction was defensive. I believed the criticism was not fair, so I began thinking of a list of reasons why this happened. As I listed my reasons, I could feel my temper reaching boiling point… something that’s rare for someone who is mostly calm.

No one cares

Then something dawned on me. Maybe the criticism was not fair, however, maybe no one cared either. No one wanted to hear me bitching, complaining or smashing my Tonka truck like a little boy. People want to be inspired by your victory, rather than depressed by your defeats.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” -Bruce Lee

Accepting accountability

I edited my response to this feedback and removed all excuses. A strange feeling of power came over me as soon as I did. “I remember this feeling”, I thought. Instead of being reactive to the wrongs of the past, I was empowered by taking accountability for what steps I can take to prevent this from ever happening again.

Accountability is not blame

Accountability is not blame. I’m not suggesting you beat yourself up for what has happened in the past. What I am suggesting is that you hold yourself accountable and take control of what happens next. One way to do this is to focus on your “three foot world”. In other words, work out what you can reach out and touch or influence directly that can alter your outcomes.

Life is not fair

Something else occured to me. Life is not fair. It should be… but it’s not. An unofficial slogan of the U.S. Marine Corps is “improvise, adapt and overcome”. Imagine the unfairness soldiers see in conflict zones. At times they might be outmanned, outgunned, outfought, overwhelmed or see injustices that most of us could only imagine in our worst nightmares. It’s not fair. But they improvise, adapt and overome.

Power to change

Taking accountability for what happens gives you the power to influence what comes next. When you are a spectator, and feel somehow like nothing is your fault, you also feel like you’re not the one in control. In my case, if I made excuses for the negative feedback I received, this would remove my power to influence what happens next.

Extreme ownership

I once listened to an audio book called Extreme Ownership, by ex Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. In that book, they detail all sorts of injustices they experienced, from facing down and fighting dangerous enemies to dealing with the bureaucracy of military hierarchy. In order to alter the outcomes in their favour, they needed to be decisive. Decisions and accountability go hand in hand, so if you want to make decisions, you need to be prepared to take accountability. That’s what Willink and Babin’s book is about.

Decisions and accountability

Perhaps entrepreneurship is less extreme than war. Still, if you want to control your business outcomes, you need to make decisions. Then you must take accountability because it helps you keep control, win trust and beat the competition who are still looking for excuses.

What do you make excuses for?

No sales? As Jordan Belfort says in The Wolf of Wall Street, “Pick up the phone and start dialing”. Regardless of what problems you face in business, you will always be able to find reasons for those problems. Focus on what is in your control and start work on that. You cannot take ownership of a problem or challenge until you at least accept some accountability.

Your poor sales are not entirely the fault of lazy sales staff, ungrateful clients, relentless competition or who got voted in the last election. These might each play a part in what’s happening… but you may also be experiencing a decline due to not having enough new leads, not following up quickly enough or not communicating effectively with potential clients. Give some thought to what you can do, right now, to make a difference.

No easy day

People who win big are not those who have it easy. They’re the ones who have the grit and determination to overcome the biggest challenges. They are the ones who take ownership and assume accountability for results -good or bad.

Partner Promotions

Leave a Reply