Poor accountability could be the single greatest threat to your company’s future – creating a culture of excuses, confusion and inefficiencies – ultimately resulting in poor performance.
Quite simply, accountability is doing what you said you were going to do within the timeframe and budget you agreed to. Yet Gallup says only 30% of employees are “engaged,” 50% are disengaged (just going through the motions) – and an incredible 20% are actively disengaged, or working against you every single day!
The Gallup survey uncovered a secret – employee engagement significantly boosts accountability leading to organizational performance. Why? Because engaged employees have an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. They don’t just work for a paycheck. They care about their work and their company.
So why let poor accountability become an obstacle in the path to achieving better engagement and results?
10 Tips to Boost Accountability
Take action today to change the company’s DNA by creating a new culture of performance through embracing more accountability! Here are 10 ways good leaders foster accountability to grow great teams and strong cultures:
1. Clarify your people’s roles. Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in the company’s success are more likely to become disengaged. Take the time to create the right structure for your organization, clarifying roles and responsibilities, so you have the right people in the right seats. Remember the rule of thumb: When 2 or more people are accountable for a position, nobody is accountable!
2. Set great goals. Employees want to see how their work contributes to larger company objectives. Setting smart quarterly goals aligns everyone around what’s most important. In EOS language, we call 90-day goals, “Rocks” – 3-7 top priorities that align everyone around what’s most important. Because “if everything is important, nothing is important!”
3. Walk the talk. You and your leadership team have to be role models of accountability – because as you go, so does the rest of the organization. Never play the “blame game,” which is usually a ploy to control others or hand off responsibility. Accept the fact that all the company’s problems were created by you and your leadership team. But you must believe that the same team who created all the problems together can solve all of the problems together. That’s demonstrating 100% responsibility. That’s what inspires others to do the same.
4. Communicate continuously. Make sure your expectations are clear and consistent. Remember the “Rule of 7” says people need to hear something 7 times before it sinks in. Eliminate the “I didn’t understand” excuse with using both verbal and written communications.
5. Measure objectively. Accountability must be based on facts, not distorted by opinions, politics and desire for power. Make sure to create a Scorecard, Dashboard or key measurables to ensure your goals and objectives are creating the right impact. Remember, what gets measured, gets done!
6. Give control before expecting accountability. If several levels of approvals are needed for a specific decision, no one will feel accountable, and no one can be held accountable. If more than one person is ultimately accountable, nobody is accountable.
7. Align functional groups with business goals. If key functions aren’t under the control of the proper team, accountability will suffer. For example, if your sales group is measured on profitability, but is required to process leads from outside sources paid by volume, you have a conflict where everyone loses.
8. Provide timely feedback on performance. High performers need regular quarterly coaching on how to improve, as well as annual full reviews. Help your people look in the mirror and see reality. Coach them to greatness!
9. Use a process to solve your issues. Your ability to be successful and grow is directly proportionate to your ability to solve your issues. Getting to the root and solving problems should never be a “name and shame” game. Leaders need to provide a safe haven where difficult issues can be discussed and solved without assigning blame. The goal should always be to solve problems, not hurl accusations.
At EOS, we use an Issues Solving Track called IDS: Identify, Discuss, Solve – to knock down issues and make them go away forever.
10. Improve trust. While accountability tools that measure data and results are important, you must also trust the people. Absolute dependence on tools leads to abdication of personal responsibility. Build trust through strong and consistent leadership and management – all of which improves accountability!
Boost Engagement with Accountability
Can you imagine having employees who are “engaged?” Who are fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and take positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests?
If you and your leadership team are willing to be the best, you’ll realize that accountability makes it all happen. You’ll have more control over your business, build a strong, engaged and accountable culture – ultimately increasing the value of your business AND your peace of mind!