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Accountability for Success & Failure

Business is great! Whose fault is that?

In late 2006 I was asked to coach a large an outbound sales team who were experiencing a four month slump in sales revenue.

To get to the potential causes, I asked them ‘What are the reasons when you do hit your sales targets?’ On the whiteboard I noted the answers they enthusiastically called out… ‘We follow up leads’. ‘We ask good questions’. ‘We serve our existing clients well’. ‘We use our sales time well’…

I then asked the reasons behind when they missed their sales targets over this 4 month period, and these were their responses. ‘The market is flat’. ‘The promotions department are not running any good specials’. ‘The election has got people spooked’ ‘There’s been supply issues’…

Looking at the two lists, I clarified, ‘So, when things are going really well, that’s your fault right?’ The word ‘fault’ threw them a bit, but they agreed that yes it was. I then asked, ‘And when things are going pear shaped that’s not your fault…right?’

An uncomfortable silence engulfed the team as they looked at the conflicting lists. To their credit, they soon understood when I broke the silence by saying ‘Guys, you can’t have it both ways. Responsibility isn’t a part time job!’

If you or your team are patting yourselves on the back when things are going great (as you ought to), but there is collective finger pointing when things go sour, please consider this. A business that instils a culture of ‘accepting responsibility’ when things are good and bad means they have the power to replicate the good and the power to fix the bad – because both are their fault. A business whose people do not accept responsibility (or do it part time), render themselves Powerless!

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin
Actual to Ideal
Bunbury Business Coach

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Jeff Austin - Business Coach Bunbury

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