How do you create a culture of accountability? Check you leaders. Who are the perceived heroes in your organization? What values do they exhibit by their actions?
Try this. Write down the culture for which you want to strive. What actions and values create that culture? Do your leaders display those values and take those actions? If not, then it is time to work on developing your leaders. Many times, we fear discussing these actions and behaviors because we fear causing alienation. Unless we take steps to change the culture, we will continue to have failure.
The culture of accountability must be cascaded down from organizational leadership to senior leaders and to all supervisors.
How does a manager or supervisor hold members of the staff responsible for performance? What about an employee who needs help but fears asking for help? The results can be devastating when we fail to have accountability discussions.
We need to talk things out about goals and measured results. This would involve:
a. Agreeing on a task or a goal
b. Setting a time limit
c. Deciding on measurement and writing it down
d. Following up
The leader should help the team leader decide why this goal is so important. Many times, we need to illustrate WIIFM (What’s in it for me.) What are the benefits of goal achievement? What will be the consequences of non-achievement? Then make sure we know the root problem. And finally, we must follow up. Where was the promise not fulfilled or where did the disappointment occur? How can we correct this? Let’s talk it out.
I had the opportunity to test the accountability issue recently with one of my restaurant chain clients. We were doing cascade meetings of the results of an employee engagement survey. The staff had identified things that made it harder for customers to do business with the restaurant chain. They also felt they were not informed on certain things that affect their ability to do their job.
Here is how they are fixing these things, getting the staff engaged, and holding them accountable. Here is also how the staff wanted to be held accountable. Management is inviting the staff to work on goal planning for the chain. Part of goal planning involves identifying the possible obstacles to attaining the goals and then brainstorming for all possible solutions. Who is better to talk about obstacles and solutions than the people who are closest—the staff. The next step will involve outlining action steps and assignment of duties. Staff and management will work on this together and agree on who is accountable for what.
In the end this will result in a double win for staff and the organization. The staff has a say and understands the values and goals of the organization. But the staff is a stakeholder in this whole process. There is shared responsibility with management. When everyone has accountability, positive results are assured. Both management and staff are fully engaged.
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