CALL TO ACTION: Credit Union Leaders – get interested in the concept of Accountability!
If you want your life to thrive, you have to embrace the notion that you are fully accountable for every action you take. The same goes for your credit union. If you want your credit union to thrive, you must have systems in place to hold your employees accountable for their actions. While I am not a big fan of micro-managing your people, I do think it is vital that employees understand that they will be held to high standards in terms of production, ethical and moral guidelines, truth and integrity. But some credit unions fall short when it comes to holding people accountable. As a matter of fact, it is one of the biggest issues that I hear about from credit union personnel when I present at conferences and other events.
An example of a lack of accountability is project completion. Sometimes, it’s as if projects languish for weeks, months and even years at a time. A project is assigned and then it is all but forgotten by the people who should be monitoring the progress. Sometimes, important projects get put on the so-called “back-burner” because more pressing items come up. I’m all for prioritizing. That makes good business sense; however, there’s a difference between prioritizing and just being lazy. As leaders, you must make sure that if your people are putting things off, there’s a damn good reason for it. I’ve told people who work for me that “I’m too busy” is no longer an excuse for anything. Folks, we’re all busy all the time. We have to be if we want to stay competitive in this marketplace.
Let’s go a step further — you have to hold ALL employees to these standards of accountability. It’s unfortunate and demoralizing when some employees are expected to perform while others “get away with” not doing what they’re supposed to do. It makes the employees who do live up to the accountability guidelines feel as if those who don’t are favored for whatever reason. This simply can’t happen in your business. You need to build a team of people who are “on fire” to make your business leap to a higher level.
So it’s time to set accountability standards and ENFORCE them. It will help keep people motivated to work hard, work smart, and produce. Remember — everyone at your place should benefit from greater production and profitability. Reward your people for adhering to the standards you set. Reward them well and they will work harder. Reward them VERY well and your business should take off to heights that you never imagined.
One final thought on accountability — as a leader, YOU need to hold yourself to the same standards that you give your employees. Remember the old saying — “lead by example?” Live by it and your people will respond. Ignore it and your best employees will eventually leave.
Bet on it.