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February 2017 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • Establishing the Right Elements for Accountability
  • What Happens Without Accountability?
  • Quick Reference: The Positive Results of Accountability
  • Quick Reference: What is Personal Accountabiity?
  • Quick Reference: The Steps for Ensuring Accountability in Your Organization
  • Coachís Corner: Develop Your Own Culture of Accountability
February 2017
Volume 4, Number 2

Thanks for Joining Us!

February is here again...and we're starting to see some longer evenings and more daylight. Can it be possible there may be an end in sight for winter?

This month we're discussing accountability in the workplace - something every leader desires in their organization and is something every manager wants to have.

However, according to a study carried out by AMA Enterprise, in 2013, leaders recognize a significant lack of accountability on the part of employees. In fact, 21 percent of respondents stated that unaccountable employees make up 30-50 percent of their workforce.

Accountability at work is important to a businessís success as a whole. Every employee, no matter what level of seniority, is equally responsible for aiding in the success of the company. In order to achieve the goals of the company, long and short term, it is important that all people within the company work together and share accountability.

Keep reading for more learning!

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)

What Happens Without Accountability?

Execution suffers when we donít hold ourselves accountable to getting work done well and on time
  • thereís a tendency to become even more lenient and forgiving for slippages. A day becomes a week, a week a month. If it happens once, itís that little bit more acceptable for it to happen again.
When we donít hold ourselves accountable, the impact is exponential.
  • your delay becomes your teamís delay. The work they had planned gets impacted and that work potentially has further downstream effects. If you are 10 minutes late for a meeting and there are 10 people waiting for you - it's not just 10 minutes lost, it's 100 minutes.
Lack of accountability can snowball in a team, department and organization.
  • Tolerating missed deadlines, lack of punctuality and unfinished work has the tendency to make this behaviour ďno big dealĒ. People learn that the real deadline is a week from the published one; that consistently being late for a meeting is the norm; that sub-par work is acceptable in the interest of ďgetting it done".
Accountability is essential; without it the cumulative impact across an organization can be substantial. Ultimately, lack of accountability at the top level trickles down to many levels and can have disastrous consequences.

Quick Reference: The Positive Results of Accountability

Examples of workplace accountability include:

Employees are present for their entire required shift

Employees complete any tasks that have been designated to them

Employees are responsible for the specific duties that go along with their job

Employees consistently do the right thing and achieve all goals in every aspect pertaining to their job

Employees work together towards a common goal for the business

When there is a culture of accountability, employees are more invested in the future of the organization. In addition, accountability:

* has a clear link to higher work performance,

* results in improved competency and commitment to work,

* increases employee morale,

* strengthens work satisfaction, and

* improves creativity and innovation.
Quick Reference: What is Personal Accountability?

Management consultant Todd Herman defined personal accountability as "being willing to answer Ö for the outcomes resulting from your choices, behaviors, and actions."

When youíre personally accountable, you take ownership of situations that youíre involved in. You see them through, and you take responsibility for what happens Ė good or bad. You donít blame others if things go wrong. Instead, you do your best to make things right.

Quick Reference: The Steps for Ensuring Accountability in Your Organization

* Set and communicate clear expectations.
* Align individual and team goals with departmental and organizational strategies and vision.
* Provide time, training, tools, and resources.
* Empower people to succeed.
* Provide recognition and feedback.
* Take action when individuals and teams do not meet expectations.

About Wendy Ellen Inc.

Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.

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