Building Accountability

In times of uncertainty, the one question that has come up more than any other by organization and team leaders has been, “how can we create a stronger culture of accountability?” Setting goals, creating alignment, and having goals cascade throughout the organization is critical in ensuring success for the individuals and the organization, then the next step is making sure everyone does their part.

Obviously, this is a question that has many levels of complexity, but to simplify it, we look at it on three levels:

  • Organizationally
  • Departments and Teams
  • Individually

Organizationally, it is important to have a clear mission, vision, and strategic objectives that can be clearly cascaded down throughout the organization. Then, build a system of accountability that starts at the top with leaders holding themselves accountable to the goals and initiatives that have been put into place. Modeling the behavior of accountability to the rest of the organization is a must if you expect others to follow. These corporate goals should be reviewed monthly, but at the very least quarterly with the rest of the staff.

At the department and team level, creating various forms of ‘dashboards’ by which the unit holds itself accountable is the next step. These become the shared goals at the unit level that everyone can directly see ‘what and how’ they do things matters to the rest of the group. This along with the importance of doing their fair share, because you can see the impact it has on others when we are not doing our part. These types of measures can be reviewed during weekly update meetings, and at the very least monthly.

At the individual level, it is not only having very clear and aligned objectives spelled out for what is expected, but also having clarity around what does Good and Exceptional performance look like… and in some cases what is Not Acceptable. The employee owns the process of their accountability, they should be expected to present out their performance and development needs during one on ones with their supervisor. The supervisor is accountable for making sure they are available to discuss and provide performance and developmental feedback to the employee. These discussions can occur as frequently as they are needed. Some choose to have weekly or monthly one on ones, but at the very least quarterly discussions are needed to help keep things in alignment with the team and corporate goals.

When looking at the 8 Factors of Engagement model, Accountability shows up as the true north because it is a series of goals that everyone is aligned to and focused on to set the clear direction of success for the organization. Once this becomes the standard for measurement and communication, the culture of continuous accountability becomes the outcome… along with organizational success.

Here are the three statements used to measure accountability in the 8 Factors of Engagement model:

  • I have clear expectations for doing great work.
  • Staff is held accountable for the quality of work they produce.
  • My organization sets and maintains high standards for performance.

How would you respond to each one? What are two or three things you and your team could do to improve? Let us know how your conversations went, and the impact they created for you.