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Accountability in Partnerships

Originally published
Originally published: 7/1/2018

Can the simple act of accountability really lead to a stronger partnership? Most successful HVACR business owners understand the importance of daily accountability with their employees and management teams.

Accountability is empowering for business owners because it allows each member of their team to take personal responsibility for their tasks, assignments and other commitments. When these tasks are tracked and reported, the business owner can measure the progress being made toward the company goals.

When companies demonstrate a high level of accountability, it leads to more trust, positive company morale, strong employee engagement, and a higher level of productivity.

Accountability Struggle

But how do you hold your business partner accountable if they are not completing their tasks? As a professional speaker and consultant for this industry, I have had several HVACR business owners come to me with this very question. These owners have partners who struggle with keeping commitments, completing tasks on time, or pulling their fair share of the workload. In one case, an owner felt discouraged because his partner was getting ready to exit the business, and not following through on commitments.

In another case, the partner was distracted with other issues and became disengaged. When one partner does not follow through and stay accountable to the other, it can cause unwanted stress, owner burnout and a fractured relationship.

I’m lucky to have my amazing husband, Ryan Snow, as my business partner at Western Heating & Air Conditioning. When we purchased our business in 2007, we committed to each other that our relationship would always come first.

Because of that, we really struggled with accountability as new owners and partners. When one of us did not follow through with a commitment, or complete a task on time, we simply let it go or ignored it.

I didn’t want to be a nagging wife, and he didn’t want to weigh me down with extra stress. We simply did not want to cause friction in our relationship.

What we didn’t realize at the time was that our lack of accountability was hurting our business. It hurt our productivity, our growth and, ultimately, our bottom line. Because we wanted to be supportive of one another, and not condemning or authoritative of each other, we took a backseat to accountability and our business suffered.

Around the same time, we were introduced to a business coach who helped businesses become more focused. He emphasized the importance of company values, of time management, and staying motivated.

He helped companies create systems and processes, and most importantly he kept them accountable. We began working with him and immediately began to see results. Having an accountability coach who understood our business was exactly what we needed in our company.Together, with our coach, we were able to identify the goals we wanted to reach and create a plan with detailed action steps and a realistic timeline that would get us there.

We received instruction, created deadlines and reported to him frequently so that we could meet our monthly goals.

Hiring an accountability coach actually strengthened our relationship both in and out of our business. We were no longer worrying about being an authority over each other, but now we could take a supportive role in our partnership and work together to achieve our goals.

Since then, we have hired many different coaches to guide us, in various aspects of the business: annual planning, marketing, profitability, leadership and lean management techniques. We discovered we don’t know what we don’t know.

So, now that I’ve shared one of our secrets to a successful partnership, my bigger question for you is, “WHO will keep your partnership accountable?” Hiring a third party coach who is a neutral motivator, is often exactly what a business needs to reach their next level and beyond.


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