So it’s tax time again. While I don’t have much to offer in the area of taxes (I’ll leave that to the accountants), I will tell you this: While none of us likes paying taxes, in a weird convoluted way, I’m much happier when I pay a lot in taxes. It means I’m making a lot of money. When you think about it, what we pay in taxes becomes the ultimate scorecard for how we’re doing — and that’s a subject worth talking about.
True champions have one basic quality in common — they love competition and they love keeping score. Personally, I love horse races. The thrill of watching the thoroughbreds cross the finish line is exhilarating. True racing fans tingle through the entire process — the starting gun, jockeying for position, the push to cross the line, and of course the smell of roses at the end isn’t bad either.
It’s no different in our business. We want measurable results and we want to know how our results rank against our peers and the rest of the field. Of course there are those who become obsessed with winning at all costs and cross the lines of good judgment and ethics. I’m not talking about those people. But at the end of the day, a good healthy dose of competitive drive is essential if we are to win the recruiting game. I challenge you to find one successful recruiter without it.
We Have a Recruiter Scorecard
Find any thriving business and you’ll discover everything is being measured and evaluated. Sales, profits, overhead, expenses, customer service and more are all being tallied, scrutinized and analyzed. It certainly happens with our company and that includes our number one asset — our people! We have created a “recruiter scorecard” that is published daily for all to see. Here we measure our KPI’s (key performance indicators) like call volume, call time, billable cash in, placement volume, billable hours on the staffing side, and the percentage of goals achieved.
We have not always done this, but the more we do it the more our people want to see. With their input, we have developed a culture where measured results and healthy competition are not only desired, but insisted upon. It’s literally what drives the team to achieve greatness and perform at levels far beyond expectations.
Side note to owners and managers: If you have Millennials on your staff — those who grew up in the everybody-gets-a-soccer-trophy culture — you’ll probably get pushback when you first try to implement a program like this. But with a little encouragement and coaxing, they’ll come around and actually get to love it. Besides, what other option do you have? An accountability-free zone?
There are probably more but I have identified five important components to building healthy accountability and helping your team and yourself keep score.
1. Winning teams have strong leadership and clearly defined roles.
Without a decisive, fair and empathetic leader a team will simply fall apart. It is the glue that holds the team together. Equally important are roles, expectations and rules that are clearly established. If processes and responsibilities are ambiguous, you get confusion, frustration and failure. Let the team help in identifying gaps and shortcomings and in developing solutions. Group participation is the keystone to building team accountability.
2. It’s about achieving greatness, not retribution.
Measuring results and accountability is as much about catching people doing the right things as it is identifying shortcomings. Focus too much on the latter and they will eventually feel disempowered, frustrated and they won’t hang around very long. The process should be akin to watching a savings account grow with a specific goal for the money. We’re not concerned with how far we have to go. We’re focused on continuing to sock away more and more cash each week until we have enough for the big vacation, the house down payment or the new car!
3. The anticipation of accountability.
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Companies with a genuine culture of accountability are filled with individuals who seek, expect and welcome regular feedback because they understand the purpose is to help them improve and achieve goals! Those cultures were built by sharing the business purpose behind the accountability. It is not perceived as micromanaging. Being held accountable means they are on the journey to greatness and becoming champions. Nobody in this culture expects to “fly under the radar” nor has any desire to.
4. Integrity rules.
In a culture of accountability, people get called out if they don’t deliver on promises. Individuals who are honest and companies that are transparent create an atmosphere where communication is open and productive. No one is allowed to dodge an issue but people aren’t publicly humiliated either. We are honest with each other because we are honest with ourselves. Our motto is: “All progress begins with the truth.”
5. Every tub holds its own water.
It’s something my grandmother used to say and it’s so true. At the end of the day, your scorecard and measure of accountability rests on you. A personal sense of ownership for your career, your life and your outcomes is mandatory. Working with a team and as part of a collective can be a wonderful and rewarding experience but in the end you alone are responsible for your success or your failure.
I don’t want to go so far as to say our system is unique, but I am constantly surprised at how many corporate recruiters and other business professionals I speak with frown on the concept of individual accountability and measured results. Some feel they are above being measured, or that being held accountable for their production and outcomes somehow means they are being micromanaged. I don’t have the time or inclination to put anyone under a microscope. But I will look at you with my eyes open and we will talk about your progress, successes, failures and where you are in relation to achieving your goals. I’ll also share my progress, success and failures with you transparently – I need accountability too.
This is what true winners want. This is what true champions do.