What is the definition of accountability? That's easy:
Adjective, 1. (of a person, organization, or institution) required or
expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible.
What is more important, or even harder to define than the word itself, is what does accountability mean, specifically within your organization? Is this a word that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of your entire staff? If so, you are not alone. As dealerships across the country have put together their forecasts for the remainder of 2018 and beyond, many have failed to establish who is accountable for the fulfillment of these forecasts. If your dealership is seeking to make accountability a cornerstone of your culture, this cycle must stop immediately.
Create meetings that work
In each meeting you conduct, accountability to goals, processes, and results provides the roadmap for communication and helps find ways to improve your organization. By continually talking about your goals, and how you plan to reach them, your team will always have that top of mind. It will no longer become a forgotten meeting note. Additionally, most of the meetings you conduct should happen AFTER the month, quarter, or year have ended. This allows the meetings to include finalized numbers to judge your performance without bias. Once the result has been posted, there is no way to go back in time and change the outcome.
Change your process
In every dealership, the overall outcome of your goal is a result of the processes your team utilizes. If a process is solid and followed, good things happen. When your process is flawed or unchecked, the opposite occurs. So, what happens during a month where management no longer holds themselves or anyone accountable to the processes? Nothing good! If you ensure management is monitoring the goals, the processes, and the results each day, you will discover trends of process failure and pinpoint your problem.
For example: On the 13th day of the month there are 25 appointments scheduled for service, but on the 14th there are only 7. This should throw up a red flag that there may be a process error that needs to be identified, rectified, and monitored closely. In a culture that lacks accountability, this red flag could get ignored and, before you know it, the month is over and you are asking yourself, "What happened?!" Well, what happened was on the 14th of the month there was a red flag, and whoever was responsible for seeing it totally missed it. If you want to break out of this cycle, increase the accountability required of those who are responsible for finding the red flags. The individual who drops the ball, misses the flag, must be required to justify their lack of action.
It starts at the top
A culture of accountability within your organization starts with the Dealer Principal, CEO, or General Manager. If you are one of these individuals, ask yourself, "Do I display personal accountability that my employees understand and follow?" The results your dealership achieves are a shared effect of every employee's contribution, regardless of seniority. When the entire staff is aware that personal accountability is something that even management is responsible for, a culture of accountability will begin to form and positive results will follow. Lead by example to change the culture of your dealership.
Learn more about accountability and many other topics from Chris Kahrs and the other NCM moderators, instructors, and consultants by joining a 20 Group, scheduling in-dealership consulting, or signing up for a course with the NCM Institute.