“Accountability breeds response-ability.” -Stephen Covey
Recently we were rear-ended by a hit and run driver on the DC beltway. Thankfully, we weren’t hurt and no one else was involved. Yet I am really ticked that I now have $500 worth of damage on my new(ish) car that I must pay to repair. I was flabbergasted that this person would literally hit us and continue along their way…with absolutely no consequences or accountability. Doesn’t anyone have a conscience anymore?
Unfortunately, this experience had me thinking about the bigger picture. This lack of accountability seems to be more prevalent than one would like to think within the federal contracting community, particularly within small businesses.
Some examples in GovCon include:
- Daily, accurate timekeeping (yes, we know it’s a drag, but “you gotta do it!”)
- Payments to subcontractors (paid when paid, net 5…means exactly that – not when you have the cash)
- Honoring workshare agreements, not stealing every position that becomes available
- Paying out commission and bonuses as you promised, when you promised
- Delivering when you say you will, from the mundane (status reports) to the latest software release
The basics ring true – CEOs are responsible for their team’s actions. People make mistakes. Things fall through the cracks. Ultimately, how you handle these mishaps is on the team, the leadership and the CEO. Do you admit you are wrong? Do you take steps to fix the problem and resolve it for the future? Are you known as being accountable in front of clients and industry partners? Actions speak so much more than words these days. We’re all filled with hype and talk about the latest management trends (who has servant leadership on their LinkedIn profiles these days?), but do you live by your mantras? Do you stand by your word? Build a sense of responsibility and accountability into your company culture from the top down to ensure that your company doesn’t fall victim to these mistakes.
In the meantime, if anyone knows an inexpensive body shop in the DC area that does good work, please let me know!