Establishing the Right Elements for Accountability
An accountable workplace wonít appear overnight, but the right elements must be in place. Where do you need to invest your time and attention to build an environment of accountability?
1. Clear roles, team leadership and individual ownership. People struggle to be accountable when roles and processes are ambiguous. Removing as much confusion as possible about who is doing what and how they will proceed is an important step.
2. A sense of ownership for team results. Focus on team processes. Each member should have the obligation to seek information, give and receive feedback and point out the need for corrective action at any time.
3. Freedom, support and control to navigate competing priorities. Most problems have multiple right answers, so give people the freedom and control they need to make decisions. With this approach, team members increase their skills, confidence and ownership.
4. Itís not about punishment. If your goal in fostering accountability is to know who to punish when revenue targets are not met or budgets are missed, you will only succeed in creating fear. No one will be willing to step up, speak out or try something new. Innovation and risk taking will be lost.
5. Itís about improvement. Accountability is the foundation for creating a learning organization. If you want sustainable high-quality processes, you need to be able to see whatís working and what isnít Ė and analyze the cause. Seek to understand what aspects of the situation have influenced the process, system, culture or circumstances.
6. The expectation of evaluation. In accountable organizations, no one expects to ďstay under the radar.Ē In fact, people seek feedback because they know it is intended to improve the process and add to their knowledge. These organizations use multiple forms of feedback and evaluation to assess the health and success of a manager, process or department. Organizations lacking multiple feedback mechanisms only discover shortcomings when it is too late.
7. Integrity counts. People are called out if they donít do what they say they will do. When anyone falls short, they admit it and work to improve. Someone consistently falling short? A sure sign of low commitment and a clue that something is missing in your culture of accountability.
(Adapted from Forbes.Com)