Ways to distinguish yourself – #113 Fine tune your accountability structures

Living in the Silicon Valley gives you some perks that is hard to be
matched by any other place. The other day I had to walk to the hotel
next to our office to listen to a fantastic speech by Pramod Haque. Pramod Haque is a Managing Partner at Norwest Venture Capital.
He has been ranked as a top dealmaker on the annual Forbes Midas List
for the past five years, and in 2004, Forbes named him as the #1
venture capitalist based on performance over the last decade. Haque
spoke passionately on wide ranging topics that included Spirituality,
Entrepreneurship, Politics and Life in Third World countries. One topic
that touched my heart was the growth and the impact of “micro loans” in
the third world countries.

Haque talked about the work of one of his favorite charitable orgnization (Opportunity International) in Uganda.
As of today, the organization has provided micro loans (as little as
$50) to about 12,817 poor workers and disbursed more than $3,496,495 in
loans. These grassroots initiatives are transforming the communities
across the country. What was interesting was to hear that the repayment
rate was greater than 98%. How does this happen?

The answer is in
the way accountability structures are setup. Loan recipients are
grouped into teams of twenty. Every person who gets a loan will gets a
co-signor for nineteen other people in his group. The group meets
weekly and each member checks on the progress of the businesses of
other members – more importantly they check on the repayment of
principal and interest for the loan. This is the classic case where
twentypeople (self + nineteen other people in his team)

What can we learn from this?

The accountability
structure that you have setup for yourself and people around you will
have a big impact on results you produce. It will also have an impact
on whether you and people around you will keep the promises that were
made. Take an inventory of your current accountability structures in
place NOW. What could you and your team members do to fine tune these
structures to produce better results?