The 5 Daily Accountability Questions

The 5 Daily Accountability Questions is great communication tool we use with all of our team members. I have all of my direct reports email me their questions at the end of every day. In turn, they have their staff members email these questions to them, and so on, throughout the organization. It creates a really great cadence of accountability.

The 5 Daily Accountability Questions: 

  1. What successes did you or your team have today?
  2. What struggles did you or your team have today?
  3. How did you overcome them?
  4. Where is your mindset on a scale of 1-10? (1 being terrible. Be honest here. I don’t care if it’s a 1, but if there is something preventing you from being at the top of your game, we need to know and fix it.)
  5. What is your next opportunity for growth? What would you like to learn next?

Why These Questions?

We recommend asking these 5 accountability questions daily, primarily because they’re fast and effective for both you and your staff. In a fast-paced, growing organization, it’s hard to have contact with the CEO, director, or supervisor every day. Everyone has a lot on their plate. These questions serve as a daily touch-point for the leader and employee. People often open up or share more through email, too, which begins to build trust. More often than not, the answers I receive to these questions have much less to do with the day-to-day operations of the business, and more to do with where the employee’s mindset is or what is going on in their personal life. Your employees’ personal lives do bleed into their work lives, even if they don’t talk about it. Be aware and show that you care about what they learned, what they failed at, how they are feeling, and how they are coping with it (at home and at the office).

These questions help you keep a great pulse on the people who report to you, especially when you’re traveling, in all-day trainings, or simply aren’t able to spend time walking around to feel the energy in the office (hello, WFH life!). These five daily questions are a system to ensure that you stay in the know, even if you aren’t physically there. From there, you’re able to direct the energy of your team. Since your EA has access to your email, she should pay attention to these as well. She may be able to find a solution faster than you, or simply give extra time and attention to an employee in need. 

The last question is designed to get your team members thinking about future opportunities for their growth. If every day they are identifying ways to improve or things they would like to learn, it elevates the entire organization and perpetuates a growth-mindset. 

More than anything, these questions are a tool for your team’s growth. Yes, it’s a quick way to gauge your team member’s mindset, pain points, and progress, but it’s an even better tool to help them increase their self-awareness. This daily reflection focuses your employees on what they learned and what they could do better tomorrow (and every day). It’s a forced journaling model for them to follow. Growth for them becomes simply inevitable! Which is exactly what I’m after as a leader.

How to Implement The 5 Daily Accountability Questions

Here are some key strategies to consider when you start to use the 5 Daily Accountability Questions:

  • Start using these questions on day one with new employees. Set the precedent that their growth is valuable to you and to the organization.
  • If you’re implementing these questions with existing team members, take the time to explain the why behind it. Give your team a couple of weeks to adjust to the new expectation as well. They will get into a rhythm of answering the questions and being more and more vulnerable and transparent over time. 
  • Make sure you take the time to reply to each email. Take this seriously. Your employees are taking the time to answer these questions daily, and you’re going to hear some very personal (and professional) business struggles. This is exactly what you want! It’s impossible for the two not to go hand-in-hand. Be prepared to respond with care and candor and allow your employees the space to be honest and vulnerable. If you don’t reply to the emails, the value loop begins to erode and your team members may stop submitting their 5 Daily Accountability Questions. Afterall, if you’re not going to respond, what’s the point of them doing them? 
  • You’re not looking for any specific answers to the questions here, but rather for patterns of behavior and problems that you need to help solve. For example, if one of your staff member’s mindset is always at an 8 (they’ll never be a 10), then when you see her drop to a 5, you know something is up. Conversely, you’ll have team members who are always at a 10, so dropping to an 8, or even a 9, could be a red flag. Other questions you might ask yourself as you are reviewing their responses include: Were they able to solve their own challenges or did they blame others? Are they taking responsibility for missed deadlines? Are they learning and progressing each week? All of these questions (and the patterns that emerge) are simply a model to help you be a better leader.
  • You’re also looking for patterns among your leadership team members. Often, they will be working on the same project or experiencing the same challenge, but they may have vastly different views on the best course of action. As a leader, you must triangulate all of the information and make a decision that best serves the company.

These are powerful and valuable questions, whether you travel three weeks out of the month or are in an office with just one other employee. Add these into your cadence of accountability with your team and watch your relationships grow and your team members flourish, no water-cooler conversation necessary.

Pair these 5 Daily Accountability Questions with a Weekly Execution Plan to create even more impact. Download these resources for free here!

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