Turn Up the Accountability, Please! Some companies just seem to have accountability. Did their employees swallow some sort of accountability pill when they were hired? What are these companies doing to create the environment where all employees take ownership of their actions?
Beyond creating the environment of trust, the leadership can take four specific actions to help create additional accountability within your company:
• Overuse the word “accountability.” Include it in all of your meetings. Define it as it applies to your company. Discuss accountability in your corporate newsletter. Refer to people as being accountable for their areas of responsibility. “Accountability” is a very powerful word, and the more employees begin to use it, the more they will understand its meaning. Create an accountability award. One company, Tenacity Solutions from Reston, Virginia, gives out an employee-driven quarterly “Cat in the Hat” award that stresses results, collaboration, and accountability.
• Rename your business units “accountability centers.” This is especially important if a business unit is a profit and loss center. The leader in charge of the accountability center is now accountable for everything that goes on in that area. This eliminates the question, “What do you mean when you say accountable?”
• Develop a meeting model that assigns action items and hold people responsible for completing those items. How many meetings have you attended where action items were listed and then events seemed to overwhelm the issue and nothing got done? Assign a scribe and keep the notes taken on your company portal. When an action is completed, update the notes and notify the participants. If the action is not completed, the entire team will have a record of the accountable person.
• Review your current job descriptions. Job or position descriptions naturally tend to establish parameters outside of which things won’t get done. They can institutionalize the dreaded phrase “It’s not my job.” Rework descriptions to describe roles and corporate objectives rather than putting an overemphasis on specific tasks. Everyone in the company is responsible for making the company successful.