In the busy world of entrepreneurship and business growth, staying organized and keeping a clear vision is critical. This is especially true for managed service providers (MSPs). I can’t stress the importance of the accountability chart and its pivotal role in guiding MSPs towards their ultimate goals.
In this post, I’m going to break down how having a comprehensive MSP accountability chart helps you visualize your future – a critical part to the age-old proverb “begin with the end in mind.” I’ll also reinforce the belief that you don’t have to handle every aspect of your business by yourself; instead, you should seek out the right team members to fill key positions.
The Vision: Begin With The End In Mind
1. Clarity As The Cornerstone
Before embarking on the journey of building an accountability chart, it’s crucial to possess a relatively clear vision of your business’s future. This vision should encompass not only what your company will achieve but also how it will operate, its cultural values, and the impact it aims to make on the market.
This clarity sets the stage for your entire business strategy. Basically, it will serve as the guiding light for creating your MSP accountability chart.
Note that your goal is not “perfection”. Give yourself the grace to make educated guesses; you’ll repeat this process in the future, and things will change. That’s acceptable and normal.
2. Long-Term Thinking And Strategic Alignment
“Begin with the end in mind,” a principle often attributed to Stephen R. Covey, is a powerful notion that advocates aligning every decision and action with your long-term vision. It’s the bedrock upon which your accountability chart will be constructed.
Long-term thinking ensures that your business strategy remains focused on your ultimate objectives, rather than getting lost in short-term distractions.
3. The Challenge Of A 10-Year Vision
Visualizing a 10-year plan for your business can be both inspiring and overwhelming. After you’ve created an accountability chart for your business as it looks today, you should also create a rough sketch of what your business might look like in 10 years.
As I worked through this process with a private client, they had a strong desire to 10X their business in the next few years. They recognized that today’s chart would not resemble a 10X chart. So we worked together to sketch out what that could look like. He realized that it was simple math to 10X MRR, seat count, and technical resources. But he also realized that their current sales and marketing staff was not sufficient to fuel 10X growth. That immediately shifted his focus toward people, process, and technology inside of the business development arm of his company.
If you experience a sense of being daunted by the journey ahead, you might benefit from the wisdom presented in Step 3 below.
The Accountability Chart: Your Blueprint For Success
1. What Is An Accountability Chart?
An accountability chart is more than just an organizational chart; it’s a visual representation of your organization’s structure, roles, and responsibilities. Unlike traditional org charts, it places a strong emphasis on accountability and clarity. If you want to dig into this concept even deeper, I recommend you study the concepts presented in the book “Traction” which expands on this topic inside the “Entrepreneurial Operating System”.
2. Building Blocks Of Your Accountability Chart
Creating an accountability chart involves a series of well-defined steps:
- Identify Core Functions: Start by listing the core functions required for your business to thrive. These functions could include sales, marketing, operations, finance, and more.
- Position Roles: For each core function, define the specific roles necessary to fulfill it. These roles should be clearly distinct, with well-defined responsibilities.
- Assign Accountabilities: Clearly assign accountabilities to each role. This means specifying who is responsible for what, eliminating any ambiguity.
- Establish Reporting Structure: Determine the reporting structure within your organization, indicating who each role reports to. This clarifies lines of communication and accountability.
3. Embracing The “Who Not How” Philosophy
A common pitfall for business owners is the belief that they must solve every problem themselves. I see this a lot with the MSPs I work with. You have many unique challenges when it comes to growing a successful business in your industry, and it quickly becomes impossible to do everything on your own. Instead of burning yourself out, you must focus on building a team that can help you meet those objectives.
The book “Who Not How” by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy introduces a transformative concept: you don’t need to be the expert in everything; you simply need to find the right people. These are your “Whos” that will fill the necessary roles on your MSP accountability chart. The sooner you realize you can’t do it all, the better.
4. Finding The Right “Whos”
Building your dream MSP business requires a team of individuals who are not only competent but also passionate about their roles. They should be as motivated to push and execute your awesome services as you are. Here’s a more detailed approach to identifying and attracting the right team members:
- Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses: Gain a deep understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader. This will guide you in finding complementary team members who can fill the gaps.
- Cultural Alignment: Consider your company’s culture and values. Seek individuals whose values align with your organization’s principles, as they are more likely to thrive in your environment.
- Leverage Your Network: Tap into your professional network and ask for referrals. Often, the best candidates come through trusted connections who can vouch for their skills and commitment.
- Craft Compelling Job Descriptions: Invest time in crafting compelling job descriptions that highlight the unique aspects of each role. This not only attracts candidates who resonate with your vision but also sets clear expectations from the start.
Implementing Your Accountability Chart
1. Effective Communication
Once your accountability chart is in place, effective communication becomes paramount. Ensure that each team member comprehensively understands their role, responsibilities, and how their contributions tie into the bigger picture.
2. Regular Reviews And Adaptations
Your accountability chart should not become a static document. Schedule regular reviews to assess its effectiveness. As your business evolves, so should your chart. Be prepared to adjust when necessary.
3. Trust The Process
Building a successful MSP business is a journey, and constructing an accountability chart is a pivotal step in that journey. Trust the process, and remember that you’re not alone in this endeavor. Your team of dedicated “Whos” will help you turn your vision into reality.
Implementing Your Accountability Chart
The concept of an accountability chart is an indispensable tool for any business owner with grand aspirations, which applies to most MSPs. You’re in an extremely competitive industry and your business relies on rapid growth for success. If you want to reach your goals, you’ll need to start with the end in mind and understand the “Who Not How” philosophy.
Assembling the right team members is the cornerstone of your success as a managed services provider. By following these principles and diligently constructing your accountability chart, you’ll be well on your way to building the business of your dreams!
Remember, it’s not about doing it all yourself; it’s about surrounding yourself with the right people who can fill the boxes on your chart with passion, expertise, and a shared commitment to your long-term vision. Your accountability chart is more than just a document; it’s the roadmap that will guide your business towards its destined success.