Accountability is Better Store Performance, Not a 4 Letter Word

Accountability is one of the most used terms when it comes to fixing problems. A lot of times is happens after something is so bad that it gets a lot of attention. For many people it means punishment and only negative things – this is why accountability strikes fear in the hearts of many. Fear, then,  is the very reason that accountability often fails. Mangers do not want to deal with the lash back and staff fear measurement’s they do not believe. Many times however, the lack of accountability is the cause of failure rather than the ‘accountability’ did not work. A better way to use accountability is all through the process – starting with your purpose. It reduces fear and increases action.

One of the key things we are taught in any business class, is that effective management is driven by four steps.  Plan, Measure, Predict and Improve.  Accountability requires the measurement process that provides the status of your performance compared to your plan.  With the measurement of results along with the intelligence to understand the trends you are enable you to predict outcomes early and take action when needed.  If the ball drops in the measurement step it them becomes harder to predict the outcome in time to make adjustments. In other words, you will find out about negative results when it is too late.   That is not the time to hold people accountable. When using accountability in the fast paced world of C-Store performance, there is a lot of data available to provide the measurements you need.

ACCOUNTABILTY WHEN DONE CORRECTLY MEANS THIS:

1. There is a clear reason that accountability is put in place – something matters
2. There is a clear definition of what success means – something is measureable
3. There is clear set of rules as to who needs to do specific tasks – something is part of a process
4. There is someone assigned to do the task that has the skills and time to do it – something is assigned
5. There is a someone else that reviews results with those that produce – something is reviewed

Only when accountability is in place can it fail. If you do not put all the requisite components in place then the failure is the lack of accountability but not the accountability process itself. Accountability is simply the result of good leadership, management and systems. Once you separate the lack of accountability from the failure of accountability the main reason for accountability failure is much easier to address – Fear.

Plan Measure...Many people either hate to address the problem or have a problem addressed…but everyone sure feels great when problems and issues are overcome.  It is a sure way to improve C-Store Performance and keep things moving in the right direction on a day to day basis.  Accountability is the underlying entity that makes efforts to improve understood by all. There is no fear when its fair!

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Don’t Let your C-Store Performance Problems be a Surprise

Everyone knows that life has surprises and life has problems. The trick is to do what you can to make sure those problems are not surprises. If you are looking at your C-Store performance on a monthly basis, you may be well aware of that wisdom. As software developers who have worked for companies of all sizes and in many industries, our company has solved this problem for decades. Someone starts adding up the costs and decides a straight-forward, daily monitoring process is needed. Though the information requested may have been different, there were always two requirements for the tracking of their KPI’s

1. See the results of their specific KPI’s at any time
2. See it on one page

Bing defines KPI as follows:

KPI

DEFINITION:  key per·for·mance in·di·ca·tor.  NOUN
1.a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc., in meeting objectives for performance: “key performance indicators show big improvements and delivery times have been reduced”

The past tense (i.e., ‘delivery times have been reduced’) that is used in the example of this definition is exactly what can cost a company money. KPI’s should be an ongoing measurement, especially if is KPI that is measuring an activity or goal that impacts income. These examples should read, “fresh-produce sales are up 19% daily compared to last week…” A constant watch is an effective and objective method to stop problems as they start. It is important to stop “revenue bleed” and shrinkage. Revenue bleed is lost money that could have been saved if only something happened sooner. For  a C-Store company, that would be monitoring store activity that effects the customer’s buying decisions. It can also be due to not shopping your vendors for best products or hiring employees who think they deserve a $20 a week raise by taking money out of your register.   By tracking KPI’s you control the bleed.  People may steal and stores may not perform well, but when monitoring not for long.

Due to time and resource constraints, companies will typically wait for measurement results based on monthly financials as opposed to controlling them daily, and this is the difference between monitoring and reporting. With a constant check on performance, you have a much better chance of improving C-Store Performance. You can find and stop problems as they start, you can break bad habits that are about to begin, you can see opportunities when they are there for the taking and you can certainly eliminate those bad surprises at the end of the month, making life a little more easy for yourself.

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