Business Plan Toolbox: Business Planning with Accountability

By Stephie Althouse | November 27 , 2018 | 0

Business Tool Box Accountability

Hooray! You have created a concise business plan that has pulled your ideas and plans out of your head (and the heads of your team members). Your business plan even has a precise action plan for the next 90 days. You are ready to roll and implement. All you need now is an accountability system that is proven to work with high-expertise teams. It is time for you to discover the TNCEO Success Wheel™!

This article is the sixth one in a series of blogs about the Business Plan Toolbox. If you didn't see the first five, don't worry.  Here are the key takeaways:

  • Part 1: High-expertise companies struggle to transform their expertise into corresponding success. They face five common challenges:
  1. There is a significant skill gap between the company's core expertise and the ability to convert that expertise into money.
  2. Many visionary founders find building and running a team challenging.
  3. The core expertise lives only in the brain/s of one or a few key people.
  4. High-expertise leaders often prefer to do the work themselves instead of delegating it to others.
  5. Investment monies are difficult to impossible to get due to lack of scalability.
  • Part 2: One of the five challenges is that the core expertise of the company lives only in the brain/s or computer/s of one or a few key people. Brilliance Extraction™ is a process for extracting expertise and ideas out of your key people (including yourself), which makes this knowledge available to others to grow the company. This process is crucial for scaling up your high-expertise company.
  • Part 3: The Business Power Plan™ (BPP) is a tool for effective business planning that is fast. The resulting plan is also much easier to carry out than traditional plans. For optimal results and buy-in, it’s important to involve your team of experts in developing this plan. Doing so also begins the critical process of Brilliance Extraction™. You can download the Business Power Plan™ template.
  • Part 4: I shared examples of building business plans (Business Power Plans™) for high-expertise companies.
  • Part 5: Fresh Eyes are essential for business planning to be successful. These are eyes that see things you don’t because you are too familiar with your business. Fresh Eyes unearth opportunities as well as threats that may be lurking around the corner.

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In part 6, I will talk about how to move your business plan into action and get great results. For that, let’s focus on accountability systems that are proven to work in high-expertise companies. Curious? Read on!

What is an Accountability System?

According to Merriam Webster, accountability is “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions”. How do you get your team of experts – and yourself – to do that, reliably, day after day, week after week?

Systematic accountability is critical because, as we have discussed in part 3, implementing the action plan, one little step at a time is the key to success. If you and your team implement these little steps consistently you win bigger; much bigger than by taking an occasional big step forward.

In high-expertise teams that can be a special challenge. Your team members have invested time and money in building up their expertise for too long to merely do “as they are told.” They have their own ideas, and they want these ideas to be heard and taken seriously. They may see getting something done that perhaps others can’t do as more important than getting something done on a prescribed timeline. Sound familiar?

Key Tips for Creating Systematic Accountability in High-Expertise Teams

Given these challenges, there are four key tips that are fundamentally important for creating systematic accountability with high-expertise teams:

  • Involve your team in creating the business plan. We talked about that in part 3 and part 5. By involving them, you have assured that your team member’s ideas have been heard and they are baked into the plan that you all will implement now, step by step.
  • Treat the plan as a living, breathing document. It can and will evolve.
    1. The action plan covers only 90 days. You will need to add on another month as the first month elapses. The action plan becomes a tool with which to memorialize the output of discussions with your team about the next steps forward.
    2. When you are acting on the steps you put into your plan you can then observe the results. You will learn more about how well the chosen strategy and action steps are working. At times, you will need to tweak the action steps or even the underlying strategy to get the results you want.
  • Agree on an accountability SYSTEM with your team and follow through – that’s our focus in this article.
  • Define “Success Behaviors” that support you and your team in using the accountability system and have a thriving and fulfilling experience in your work (and life) – we will talk about that in the next article.

 

 

An Accountability System Proven to Work in High-Expertise Teams

BPP process 20181126The ultimate output of the Business Power Plan is the action plan (Figure 1). Your success comes from putting the Action Plan into motion.

Discover the TNCEO Success Wheel™: It is simple to use. The graphic below shows the steps:

  1. Take action steps from your plan each week and commit to act on them (or acting on just one step is okay, too).
  1. Estimate the time it takes to do each one.
  2. Schedule each one on your calendar – this is critical! The same applies to your team.
  3. Establish accountability.
  4. Observe the results.
  5. Replenish and tweak your action plan – your BPP and its action plan are living, breathing tools.

TNCEO Success Wheel 20181121 with TM

In summary: There are four key tips that are fundamentally important for creating systematic accountability with high-expertise teams:

  1. Involve your team in creating the business plan.
  2. Treat the plan as a living, breathing document. It can and will evolve.
  3. Agree on an accountability SYSTEM with your team and follow through
  4. Define “Success Behaviors” that support you and your team in using the accountability system (see next article).

As an accountability system (Tip 3) I invite you to use the TNCEO Success Wheel™ (see graphic):

  1. Take action steps from your plan each week and commit to act on them.
  2. Estimate the time it takes to do each one.
  3. Schedule each one on your calendar – this is critical! The same applies to your team.
  4. Establish accountability.
  5. Observe the results.
  6. Replenish and tweak your action plan – your BPP and its action plan are living, breathing tools.

It is often useful to have an outside coach work with you and your team for a little while to get such a system implemented. Being accountable to someone with a success record who is not directly part of your team can be very powerful. Whether you implement this system on your own or with the support of one of our Top-Notch CEO Coaches, the key to success with this system is to stick with it and make it into a habit.

Let me know how it is going for you. I am happy to connect with you.

In the next installment (part 7), I will talk about how you can define “Success Behaviors” that support you and your team in effectively using the accountability system I shared with you here. Of course, your team helps shape them, and that is why they work to create a thriving and fulfilling experience in your work (and life).

Have a top-notch day!

Dr. Stephie

Dr. Stephie Althouse is the founder of Top-Notch CEO and Top-Notch CEO Academy (TopNotchCEO.com). She has a Ph.D. in chemistry.  She has worked with many high-expertise companies, first as an award-winning innovator herself and then as executive, turnaround authority, growth expert and executive coach. Her success in helping high-expertise companies get more from their expertise is based on her ability to bridge the languages of their crafts with that of leadership and business.

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