"Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions."
- John Di Lemme
Frequently, when we work with leaders and their teams, accountability can be a struggle. If accountability is a weakness in your organization, you risk not reaching the dreams and goals that you have for your team and the organization.
Symptoms of poor accountability may include:
I was a wrestler. Being accountable and responsible for results was commonplace. It was me and my opponent on the mat for all the spectators to see.
Accountability landed on my shoulders.
I owned my performance. Every win or defeat, I had to learn and grow from it.
This is where I started my understanding of how accountability can impact your results.
In the 10 Rockefeller habits, two habits address accountability.
In the book Extreme Ownership the authors and Navy Seals state there are no bad teams, just bad leaders. They claim that leaders drive performance, or they don't. That’s a powerful self-review.
Are you driving performance or not? Is accountability a strength of your organization?
If substandard performance is accepted and no one is accountable and there are no consequences, then poor performance becomes the new standard.
In the book Creating a Culture of Accountability, written by Mark Green, a fellow Gravitas Impact coach, he identifies four areas to build accountability for leaders.
In an article I read recently, Coke CEO James Quincey, said his biggest regret as chief executive is that he hasn't moved quickly enough into specific segments of the beverage market, and that includes sparkling water. ("AHA" brand will be hitting the shelves in March of 2020.)
Quincey is "owning" the fact that Coca-Cola didn't move quickly enough. If you want employees to be accountable, you need to model it.
Often the source of the accountability problem is a people problem. There is a gap between the manager's expectations and the employee's understanding of their role. What do they get paid to do? Occasionally, we find leaders hesitant or unwilling to address the situation. Maybe a person is just in the wrong role; perhaps the expectations were not clear, or the person is not the right person to achieve your lofty company goals.
In a survey of 11,000 managers and supervisors, a majority could not name their top priorities. You can't be accountable if you don't know your priorities.
If our goals aren't clear, how can we measure performance?
If we can't measure performance, then we can't hold employees accountable.
Thomas Monson said, "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates."
Here are two simple ways of developing accountability within your organization.
Accountability Optimizer Exercise
One of the most revealing tools we use as Gravitas Impact coaches is the Accountability Optimizer.
I used this tool with a potential client, and it was very revealing. For one thing, the CEO was accountable for way too much, to the detriment of the organization. In some functions, it was vague on who indeed was responsible. Finally, people were not sure of the metrics for which they were accountable. Part of the tool is about identifying the leading and lagging indicators for each critical function.
If you would like a copy of this tool, send me an email.
It is available by request only.
Another method to improve accountability is for leaders to conduct 15-20 minute weekly coaching sessions with every direct report.
Here we discuss:
"I believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities." Bob Nardelli (Past CEO of Chrysler and Home Depot)
If you want to create a winning team and build accountability in your organization, make sure employees know where you are going, and how they fit into it. They should be very clear about the job expectations. As a leader, lead by example and make sure you have the right people in the right seats and measure your progress.
If you want to talk about building a culture of accountability, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 814-330-1973.