Performance and Profitability: Accountability is the Glue

By Mark Mooney


The worst mistake a boss can make is not to say, “Well done.”

– John Ashcroft


How often do you look at what your business practices achieve? Once a month when you’re looking at that end-of-month financial report? When your incoming cash flow doesn’t equal your outflow? Upset customers? Perhaps lack of customers? What makes you look and take stock of how things are being done in your business? In real life, all practices start and end with accountability. If you don’t have that, you have nothing. All your practices are just nice ideas.

Mr. Webster defines the word “practice” as the actual application or use of an idea, belief or method to accomplish something. Oh, one more little, itty-bitty thing to throw in right about now, and that’s the definition of the word accountability – responsibility for one’s actions.

Let’s start with the “practices” thing first. If you don’t have specific guiding practices in place that everyone knows and follows, you’re going to have folks guiding themselves with their own ideas of practices. These might not be the type of behaviors you want running your business. The one thing I absolutely guarantee if you have folks running around following their own practices instead of yours is that consistency of any type goes right out that proverbial window.

So, are the practices in your business achieving what you want? Are they being followed the way you want them followed? Are you satisfied with the outcome they give you day in and day out? Those should be some pretty easy questions to answer.

But no matter how you answer those questions, your answers should give you plenty to think about in terms of what your practices are actually achieving <dash> good and maybe not so good, followed or not followed.

Are you holding your team members accountable for following the practices you want followed in your business? Accountability is the glue; make no mistake, that is the case.

As I travel throughout the country visiting dealerships (in an airport now) I’m always perplexed at what is known but not dealt with. One of the biggies I see over and over is not holding people accountable. If you don’t practice accountability in your business, any and all practices will fall by the roadside over time. Nobody’s going to worry that they’re not doing what you want if they are never held accountable for what they do. They know that nothing is going to happen anyway, so who cares? But you should care, and your business needs you to not only care, but to follow through.

Holding your team members responsible for their actions is what reinforces the practices you want followed. Whether a quiet word to a team member, or a staff meeting, or a formal training, deliver your expectations reliably and consistently.

Acknowledging that your expectations have been met can also empower someone. Saying “well done” will strengthen consistency. Everyone likes praise for a job well done. Telling someone they did well reinforces doing it that way again. Why? Because the individual knows that praise is coming. I guarantee that person is thinking, “Wow, I did a good job, I got noticed in a good way, and if I keep on doing that I’ll be told I’m good again.” We all want to feel good about ourselves. It’s human nature, and that’s something we all share.

We hold people accountable for their actions for a reason. The ramifications of not doing so will always show up in the metrics sooner or later. So, I ask again: Are the practices in your business achieving what you want? Are they being followed the way you want them followed? If you’re not saying yes, scrutinize accountability first, not last.


Mark Mooney

Mark Mooney is a former dealer principal of a multi-line metric dealership with annual sales in excess of $10 million. He has partnered and works with many major OEMs to provide dealership consultation and sales training for their dealer bodies. He has delivered keynote speeches for OEMs, taught numerous classes on dealership management, trained sales teams throughout the United States, and improved bottom lines. For more information, visit


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