High Accountability in a Blameless Culture

A top priority for any business is organizational performance.  It’s not enough to develop and communicate strategies throughout the company. Strategies and goals must be executed.  In 2004 Ernst & Young reported that “66% of corporate strategies are not implemented.”

Organizations that have a culture of accountability produce better results. When people at all levels within your organization have a clear understanding of what is expected they take responsibility for making it happen.  How do you change a culture of blaming and finger pointing to one of accountability?

>>>>>Hire disciplined people.  Take the time required to find people who are personally disciplined.  First, the cost to replace an employee is 1.5 times their annual salary.  Second, people who are self disciplined go to great lengths to fulfill their responsibilities.  They do not offer excuses for poor performance.  When your people have a clear understanding about goals, responsibilities, and expectations and are supported by the necessary resources, you are free to manage systems and processes not people.

>>>>>Have clarity about the vision, values and strategies. If you don’t know where you are going, it’s hard to get there and impossible to know when you’ve arrived.  People like to be led by someone who knows where they are going and why.  When you have articulated and put into writing what you intend to create
together, people who have the same enthusiasm and passion that you have, are engaged. You share the same values and have a common standard by which to make choices day by day at all levels in the organization. Clarity begins at the top.

>>>>>Create a framework in which to work. Frankly, I like to know the pilot flying the plane I am on has a standard checklist that he uses consistently regardless of how many times he has flown. Making it up as he goes has no appeal to me. Creating written checklists or procedures to provide a framework is not the most favorite task of many people.  The advantages are consistent results at your standards of excellence and a system to address disappointing results.  Operating within a framework allows freedom and creativity to respond to the unexpected.

>>>>>Get it in writing. Would you borrow money from a financial institution without a written agreement that you both clearly understand and agree upon?  For your mutual benefit, make written agreements especially on complex projects, new initiatives, important goals, and ones involving a lot of people. Getting an agreement on paper eliminates assumptions and allows everyone to accept their individual responsibility before the project starts. If there is a misunderstanding down the road, you have a written document for reference to get you back on track. Written documents are energy neutral.

>>>>>Finger pointing is futile. Holding people accountable is not the same as spreading blame.  Employees who have agreed to stand tall and take responsibility for their action don’t need to blame others.

Mutual accountability is a set up for success. Being accountable is a commitment on the part of each member of a group to fulfill a given role and to produce results that will make life easier and more productive for all.  Willing to be accountable is an expression of confidence that you can contribute to a group.
Expecting others to be accountable is an expression of confidence that they can contribute to the group.

Accountability is not a big stick to whip people into submission
but a mutually empowering and beneficial principle Accountability supports personal development, organizational productivity, respect for others, honest dialogue, and
creativity.  What steps are you taking to develop a culture of accountability in your organization?

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