Cultivate a Culture of Accountability
Engaging and aligning your team to vital goals is a powerful key to success. One surefire strategy for a high performing team is to cultivate a culture of positive accountability. Whether recognizing an individual’s or a team’s ability to excel beyond expectations, recognition can be a powerful motivator for goal achievement — far more so than money, studies show. Even better is credible recognition for something specific, i.e., “you worked faster than usual without error” instead of “you did a great job.” MAP clients who’ve fostered positive accountability and made it intrinsic to company culture have experienced transformative benefits. These organizations work like well-oiled machines. They’re not only productive and often progressive, but also fun, inspiring places to be.
Steve Behunin, a member of MAP’s Senior Consultant coaching team, has a couple of clients that have created incredibly engaged, productive cultures of accountability by simply setting clear expectations and following up with consistent, positive recognition.
“Creating a culture of accountability is deeply tied to raising morale — and it’s not about putting on company BBQs or picnics,” he says. “Instead, it’s about giving them guidelines, monitoring and measuring performance, patting people on the back when they do well, and steering them in the right direction when they don’t. The number-one motivator is recognition.”
One of Behunin’s clients is a 150 million-dollar general contractor with 100+ employees. How did this company get that way? In monthly Vital Factors® meetings, everyone who has gone above and beyond the established expectations is listed on the board and their success is noted in the meeting’s minutes. The achievement is also posted in the lunchroom for all to see.
Another client, Recon Environmental, has implemented an inspiring “Reconition” program, whereby employees are recognized and rewarded with little chips that they can redeem quarterly for various prizes, i.e., gift certificates, free lunches, etc. The employees are also praised in the environmental engineering firm’s regular meetings and quarterly newsletter.
“Bottom line, people just want to be thanked,” says Behunin, who kicks off every client meeting with the question: Who is delivering above and beyond? Sincerely focusing on the people and their achievements set the stage for a type of leadership that puts its people and the company culture first. And notably, excellence can be anywhere and come from anyone, says Behunin, recalling a payroll administrator who cuts the checks for 1,000 employees.
“In two-months time, he cut 8,000 checks totally error free,” Behunin says. “When I went up to congratulate him for potentially saving the company from thousands of dollars in mistakes and a job well done, a tear rolled down his face. That’s all it took. Whether it’s verbal recognition, a hand-written note or some other kind of positive accountability, that’s what motivates people. After all, the salary or bonus only lasts so long.”
What are some additional ways to create a culture of positive accountability? Check out this intriguing video.