In this episode, your business wingmen are going to draw distinctions between being responsible and being accountable in your business. Oftentimes overlooked, these two words carry huge implications for business performance and add significant weight to the baerers of each.
The difference between responsibility and accountability is that the person responsible must see to it that something gets done. The “something” can be sales results, customer service performance metrics, training / learning application of techniques, demonstration of communication abilities, or any number of other bottom-line results of the manager’s directions.
Accountability is where a direction is carried out when it is the duty of the person carrying out the direction to provide acceptable results. An example is this – a sales trainer is responsible for delivering training to a group of agents. The agents are responsible for demonstrating that they now know the communication techniques required for successful transactions.
Therefore, the manager is responsible for delivering training that CAUSES the agent to create successful results once that training has been put into practice. Thus, the manager is responsible for the bottom-line performance while the agent is accountable for delivering that performance.
While the differences can seem confusing, it’s vital that the manager understand that responsibility is seeing to it that something gets done. Accountability is the duty of the person doing what needs to get done.
Without accountability there are no metrics on earth that will explain why results are less than satisfactory even after the best training program in the industry has been delivered to a group of agents. If the agents do not accept accountability for converting that training into profits for the good of the company, then nothing else will save the day.
If the manager feels that a louder voice might get the job done there is a big surprise in store for that manager. Not only will a loud voice not get the job done, people will just quit and then nothing gets done.
Other notes of relative importance…
Imagine for a moment that you are a pilot of a jet fighter about to launch from an aircraft carrier in the middle of an ocean. You are sitting in your plane, engines running, all systems checked out and you know your mission. Without twenty to thirty other people doing their jobs you may be a GOD in the air, but you are virtually usless and sitting on a very large bomb as long as you are on the deck of that carrier. Agreement is what makes any enterprise work. Without agreement there is not a manager on the planet who can point to monthly success metrics and claim that he or she made that happen. Nothing happens without agreements. In the case of managing a call center it’s not enough to train, test, require demonstrated competency then turn over dozens of calls that were contracted and paid for long before the phone rang. What good managers need are agreements related to process, progress, and profits.
HOW TO SEEK AND GET AGREEMENTS
As a call center manager, you know what you need to create the results you desire. Once you do know that you must map your way from where you are to where you say you want to be and in what time frames. Once you have this done you call in your best agents and spell out the game plan, the process plan, the desired outcomes and what needs to be done to make all this come about. What separates run of the mill managers from the champions is the ability to seek, get and hold accountable – agreed upon processes and bottom-line results that come from applying the tools provided by the manager and the infrastructure that supports a call center from the get-go.
So, you spell out the plan and ASK the agent to agree or disagree with your vision, mission, actions and goals. If you get agreement THEN you ask if that same agent will be accountable for the performance required to get the bottom line result you know are possible if all your direction, guidance, advice, leadership and support are there to help the agent pull it off.
Once the agent agrees to apply what you have taught, coached, trained, tested for and demonstrated then the bottom-line results are on the shoulders of your agents.