Adopt the Right Accountability Culture
The right accountability culture is the one in which we all want to work. This is the healthy culture in which a Disciplined Leader uses the right degree and system of accountability to accelerate performance and drive results. It is an environment where the Disciplined Leader challenges employees through that accountability system, measuring performance and taking timely, appropriate action. In this culture, employees get what it takes to “win” and be recognized for their contribution. The right accountability culture is the ideal. And it’s what Disciplined Leaders of all types work to nurture and sustain because, without it, it’s virtually impossible to effectively lead and develop their greatest assets—their people.
In MAP’s new book, “The Disciplined Leader,” we discuss the importance of having the right system of accountability. While you can learn more about that and other leadership insights from the book, here are a few key points on the subject:
Establish the system. It’s near impossible to hold your people accountable without some sort of structured, consistent approach to accountability. Fail to establish one, and you’ll likely end up with the country club culture. However, create unreasonably high expectations around accountability, and you’ll create a culture that feels like a jail. As a leader, you want to set up a system that strikes a balance between the two. And then help your people understand the system, to what goals they’re being held accountable, and how that’s going to happen. All that comes from clearly defining those goals, the measurements that will be used to track progress toward goals, and the possibility for corrective actions. The right system of accountability is also one that involves your people in the process so they’re onboard with the change and what happens when success—or failures—results.
Take corrective action. And when any such failures do occur or troublesome challenges arise, the right accountability system can easily call those corrective actions into play. In the process, use ground rules like “focus on the problem, not the person” to solve problems more efficiently and to support your people in the process. Also, if new or different corrective actions need to be created, team consulting—or a peer-based approach to developing next steps and solutions—can be highly productive. When people are missing their goals, team consulting is a solid, proven way to help people understand what’s possible in terms of new mindsets, directions, opportunities, etc.
Recognize good performance. Sure, you want to recognize the numbers and when people are hitting their targets. But recognition goes beyond numbers, focusing on what’s qualitative not just quantitative. Also, catching someone doing something good, even if it’s something small, can do wonders for employee morale, motivation and productivity. Noticing what’s right reinforces the behaviors you want, which just further fuels the accountability system. Finally, get into the habit of providing consistent feedback around how your people are supporting the organization’s goals and values. Don’t just limit your feedback to “good job” but make it specific and demonstrate the connection between what employees are doing and how those actions and behaviors align with the vital factors of the company, its purpose, and its “vision.”
What are some not-so-obvious benefits of the right accountability culture in business?