I’ve always prided myself as a person who doesn’t drop balls. I get things done. I’m what Les McKeown calls an Operator. You don’t have to ask twice if I’ve done what you asked me to (well unless you’re my mother when I was a teenager). I like crossing things off my list and moving on to the next project.
So when Sarah asked me last week where we were on a project she sent to the team a few months ago, I was caught off guard. It didn’t get done. It slipped through the cracks. I wasn’t accountable for finishing it.
My first thought: Crap….how am I going to explain this? My mind started racing with excuses like: “I’ve been so busy with other projects. You didn’t ask for it so I didn’t think it was important.”
As a small business owner, you know the feeling, right? You get busy and despite putting it on your list, something you intended to do for a client doesn’t get done.
Your default reaction is to make an excuse (a story you tell yourself to sell yourself and then try to sell others).
“All 4 of my kids came down with pneumonia.”
“My husband lost his job.”
“My computer crashed.”
“My camera got stolen.”
“My framer didn’t finish it when he said he would.”
We all make excuses. It’s expected in our culture to ‘explain’ aka make an excuse as to why something didn’t turn out the way we expected. But if we choose to stop making excuses (and be conscious when we do make them), small business expert Sam Silverstein says we can actually use accountability as a competitive advantage.
When you’re accountable to your clients for dropping the ball instead of coming up with excuses, your clients will respect you more because you are respecting them. And on top of that, you’ll start to expect MORE from yourself.
What I like best about accountability is that it doesn’t cost your business a dime. You no longer need to use price discounts or work crazy hours to win a client over. Instead you can overcome many of your small business challenges by becoming accountable.
I recently read Sam’s book, No More Excuses, and talked to him in detail about how you can throw the excuses roadblock out of the way so your business can grow for our monthly marketing club, Cafe Joy. You may have seen Sam on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.
Here are a few of the key things I learned from talking with Sam:
1) Successful people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do. What’s your default way of looking at something? By focusing on what you can’t control or what you can?
2) Most of us are very quick to give up control in a situation. We’ll say well I can’t control whether or not a client chooses to do business with me. But the reality is there is a lot we can do to manage the process when a new client reaches out to us. There is far more that we can control than we typically acknowledge.
3) What you can really control is how you react to any situation – by not making excuses and instead being accountable.
4) There are 5 critical ways you can be proactively accountable….and they are pretty easy to understand. Anyone can do it – you just have to make the choice that you want to be accountable.
To find out how accountable you are, take this 60 second quiz at http://www.samsilverstein.com/quiz/