The Accountability Myth


Once business owners develop the discipline to spend an hour or two thinking critically about their practices every week, they begin to see things differently.

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Many owner advisors will tell you, just as they tell me, that the primary reason they hire a business consultant/coach is accountability. That is, having a regularly scheduled call every two weeks forces them to think about their business on a regular basis, and keeps them “accountable” for doing whatever they said they’d do in the last call. Hopefully, you can see the flaw in this thinking. By that reasoning, they’ll need to keep working with that consultant for the rest of their business career.

In my view, it’s a business consultant’s job — probably our most important job — to help clients become accountable to themselves, their employees, their clients, and their business. Therefore, they are accountable to the “process.” The first three months of a new consulting client engagement is almost always the hardest. During that time, it’s my primary function to guide the firm owner to show up for our regularly scheduled meetings, which happen every two weeks.

And advisors are creative with coming up with various excuses on why they should do three weeks between meetings instead of two, or one meeting a week instead of every two weeks. Then they have all sorts of rules: No meetings on Monday or Friday or Wednesday afternoon. I have heard all the excuses.