How can the word “accountability” strike so much fear into certain hearts and minds?

Everything we do requires accountability. Every day we are accountable for any number of things. If you have a mortgage, you are financially accountable to the bank. If you have a credit card, you are accountable for paying the financial institution that issued it.

If you are part of a family, you are accountable for each other. If you have a car, you are accountable for following traffic laws. If you are a teacher, you are accountable for educating students.

If you are a doctor, you are accountable to providing the best care possible for your patients.If you own a business, you are accountable to your customers, employees and investors.If you are employed, you are accountable to whom you work for.

The examples are endless. Basically, we are accountable for every decision and action. Being accountable is a way of life. Whether or not you like it, you can’t escape it.

It is time to embrace accountability and realize it is one of the most powerful tools you have. Being accountable means you are open to improving.

How can accountability work for you in business? As a professional, you are directly accountable to three entities:

  • Your customers.
  • Your employer or employee.
  • Yourself.

Customer Accountability

When it comes to working with dealership customers, accountability is about the willingness to proactively show them you care. It is about listening and providing them with the best product and service. It is anticipating, understanding and responding to their needs, wants and desires.

Employer Accountability

Professionals are accountable to their employers.  For example, you are accountable for:

Following processes and procedures consistently with all customers.

  • Arriving at work on time, dressed appropriately and with a positive attitude.
  • Being honest in dealings with the dealership, customers and co-workers.
  • Keeping confidential information private.
  • Embracing opportunities for learning and professional development.
  • Working as a team member or leader.

Before employees can be held accountable, first, they must know the expectations and processes. They must be trusted to make the right decisions. Management must create an environment where employees are motivated to take the initiative, where mistakes are seen as opportunities for coaching and growth.

Accountability to Yourself

Ask this: “How much of my success is up to me or to outside influences?”

If you hold yourself accountable for your own success, then you are on your way. You have the power to manage your life and career outcomes. When you are 100% accountable, you are also 100% capable of change and improvement.

Be clear about what you expect and about what’s expected of you. Ask questions, clarify, reach agreements and put it in writing. Be disciplined and focus on your job.

Answer for your decisions, choices, actions and behavior. Above all tell the truth. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has successes. Practice accountability in both cases; when you slip up and when you succeed.

These are four good questions related to accountability.

  • What is the problem?
  • What am I doing (or not doing) to contribute to it?
  • What will I do differently to help solve the problem?
  • How will I change the results in the short- or long-term?

When you are accountable, self-esteem and success grows. You earn the respect, gratitude and loyalty of customers and colleagues.

Who knew? It really is all about you.

Richard F. Libin authored the books, “Who Stopped the Sale?” and just-released  “Who Knew?” and is president of APB-Automotive Profit Builders, a firm that works with sales and service departments on customer satisfaction and maximizing gross profits. He can be reached at rlibin@apb.cc or 508-626-9200 or www.apb.cc