Using Accountability to Tackle Your Bad Habits

Do you know what your bad business habits are?

Most of the executives I talk to understand where their limitations lie. One loves to attend sales meetings but procrastinates when it comes to writing formal proposals. Another has big financial goals but hates dealing with numbers. Still another can’t seem to stay out of the little details they’ve hired other people to handle.

Knowing about your blind spots and hang-ups isn’t enough. Without a strategy for moving forward, many executives feel trapped with their bad habits: they know what they are, but they don’t know how to overcome them.

Accountability is the medicine you need

For executives struggling with bad habits, the accountability introduced by EOS® can be the therapy they’ve always needed.

Building a company’s Accountability Chart™ is one of the first steps in every EOS implementation. The reasons are packed into a bunch of the concepts within the EOS framework: getting people into the right seats, Delegate and Elevate™, and much more.

For executives who are trying to overcome bad habits, living by the Accountability Chart can force a reckoning.

The case of too many seats and not enough people

One of my clients is a business that’s too small to have the resources to put a different person in each seat they need filled. Instead, some people on their team sit in multiple seats. This is common for lots of EOS businesses at or near the startup phase.

As the template Accountability Chart recommends, this business’s chart includes a “CFO” seat that covers finance, human resources, and IT. A larger business would have a dedicated person in this seat. In this very small firm, we started out putting the Integrator’s™ name in the CFO “seat.”

When we put him in that box, the Integrator said, “I’m happy to do it, but I don’t know anything about finance or HR.”

The Visionary, who ran all the back-office roles of the business for years, was happy to be rid of all the things that he put off: figuring out bookkeeping, invoicing, software, benefits, and all the rest. The problem was that the Integrator couldn’t take on all those jobs and still do a good job as Integrator. Something had to give.

Who holds the Visionary accountable?

After a year of muddling through, all those tasks weren’t getting done to anyone’s satisfaction. The Visionary was still holding onto the vine with most of them by necessity.

At their annual meeting we reviewed the Accountability Chart again and the Integrator jumped in. “I’m not doing that job, you are,” he told the Visionary. The Visionary sheepishly agreed. “It’s really my seat, I just don’t want it,” he said.

This business ultimately needs someone else in that “CFO Plus” seat, but for now, the Visionary/CEO needs to own it. But he also needs accountability for doing the job.

I pointed out that the Accountability Chart puts the Integrator above the CFO seat and asked the Integrator if he’d be willing to keep the Visionary accountable for the rocks that rightly sit in that seat. Even though the same people would be doing the same jobs, the layer of accountability that had been missing would now be in place.

Having a Visionary hold an Integrator accountable for holding the Visionary accountable sounds convoluted because it is. EOS doesn’t claim to deliver efficiency overnight. What it did for this business was clarify their thinking around how they allocated responsibilities. As a result, their CEO can’t hide from the work he doesn’t love.

Instead, he and the Integrator devote time to finding strategies to help the Visionary/CFO delegate as much of the CFO work to others: a better third-party bookkeeper, an outsourced benefits provider, and so on. The accountability forced the Visionary to address his hang-ups as an executive. The business is much stronger for it.

Turn your bad habits around

Coaching executives on how to overcome their bad habits is one of my favorite jobs as a Certified EOS Implementer®. As a team begins to master EOS, they will find solutions to their personal challenges easier to implement than they thought possible. The results are amazing.

What bad habits are you trying to get past? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email or give me a call today.