How to Keep Partners Accountable

Stop the madness.

“Business is easy if it weren’t for the people.” – Rockefeller

There have been many management meetings wasted in examining why someone does not do what they committed to. It’s an exercise in unclarity and insanity. I personally hate talking about the same issue repeatedly without a resolution.

Many times, there is an existing agreement; however, a partner – manager, vendor, employee, etc. – does not respond, execute or get results. Instead of wasting so much emotional energy trying to figure out someone’s neurosis, be effective instead.

Here’s a simple process that you can implement on a recurring issue that you are not getting alignment or compliance on:

  1. Identify what you want. What is the agreement, metric or results? Response time? Number of sales? Write those down.
  2. Quantify the results over time. Write those down. It’s easy to track those in a Google Sheet over time and keep a scorecard on your respective partner. Track time, metrics and goals to performance to keep a clear, quantitative metric:
  3. Share this with the person who needs to perform, as well as any others who are stakeholders. You can keep the messaging short, “Looks like we are off track these past two weeks. How do we move the numbers? What’s happening?” If you have a relational block or are an indirect person, push through to be direct. It is critical; otherwise, you never get to the root issue and real facts. You are managing to feelings rather than goals.

I always say, “Show, don’t tell.” Take all that useless conjecture energy and put it into a simple system that takes emotion and rationalization off the table. Make results about the numbers. If the numbers keep underperforming, send a calendar invitation to say we are going to discuss this sheet and make decisions.

Then have your options ready and decide on one of them. Non-performance, negligence or incompetence means firing.

Ask yourself, “Can this person be coached to the result?” If you don’t have a definitive, “Yes,” then it’s a “No.” Make your business decision accordingly. If they can be coached, set up a plan to get the number. Simple, fire or coach.

You are never helpless. You can always lead. This is a way to lead with facts and remove the hiding places for non-compliant partners.

How can you implement this simple system today?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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