Focus on Positive Accountability
Operations that foster accountability run like well-oiled machines. Their people and processes work in lockstep to achieve more predictable, profitable results. Employees are engaged and aligned to the company’s mission and goals. And their leaders know that reinforcing accountability is more effective when it’s positive. Harping on what’s wrong, investing energy into spotlighting mistakes all the time, does little good for individual morale and the company culture. Rather, emphasize what’s positive and working. Also commit to supporting your employees with the right resources and effective management tools. The positive accountability approach will cultivate employee satisfaction, grow morale, and nurture a healthy work culture.
Here’s how to make your accountability positive and productive:
Create alignment. You’ve got to have everyone on the same page when it comes to setting goals and achieving results. As we like to say at MAP, “If your employees don’t know where you are going, almost any road will get them there.” Erase the ambiguity and inconsistency in your culture by drawing up a solid business plan, also planning for any specific projects, programs, products, or services you roll out. Involve and engage your team to build understanding, ownership, and alignment around measurable goals and expectations. Spend time investing in the buy-in needed for your plan, so that the alignment is strong from the start.
Drive more positive performance. Applaud what’s going right and ask how more of what’s working can be applied to your business. While you will need to take appropriate, proactive measures to correct mistakes and address what’s not working, tap into those victories and the people who are driving them to help build even more success. Look for patterns, trends and lessons in the wins as well as small, seemingly “random” victories that might provide clues around new ways to drive even greater achievement. Don’t have the time to research and assess all this? Delegate! Ask your staff to report on the successes. Inspire innovative thinking and challenge them to find new ways to build upon what is working well.
Celebrate victories and recognize winners. Many studies have repeatedly shown that recognition is a top motivator to success. And that’s why MAP consultants such as Steve Behunin always kick off every client meeting with the question: Who is delivering above and beyond? Disciplining yourself to regularly focus on the people and their achievements sets the stage for a type of leadership that puts your staff and the company culture first. A management style that gives everyone a boost, this consistently nourishes that culture of positive accountability that builds morale—an approach that penetrates deeper than the annual company BBQ or picnic. While such an annual party may also be something everyone values and looks forward to in your organization, it’s a one-time deal. Consistently kicking off meetings or monthly check-ins with your team by celebrating victories and recognizing winners is a solid solution for growing and driving positive accountability. And guess what? Unlike the company picnic, this praise is free! But no doubt about it, there’s nothing “cheap” about this high-value activity.
How do you recognize company victories and the winners contributing to such success?