Executive Coaching & Development, Leadership Training, Strategic Planning & More | Chicago, IL | Primer Michaels
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Accountability is a very big issue. When I speak to C-level executives in a small group during an executive briefing or to senior leadership teams, they commonly ask me how they can get their organization to be accountable. They want to know how to get the people in their organization to be accountable, but they are not asking the right question. The real issue is that you cannot get people to be accountable. You cannot make them be accountable. People choose to be accountable.

So the better question is, “How can I put a process in place that invites people to choose to be accountable?” First, you have to get the right people on the bus. People know that they are supposed to be accountable, but that unaccountability is being tolerated. They know of someone else who is not being held accountable. They are not performing, but they still are where they are. By tolerating it, senior leaders are endorsing it throughout the whole organization. It appears that they really do not care about accountability.

Another issue is that there are not clear expectations. I have my interpretation of what my expectations for this year are, and my supervisor has a different interpretation of what expectations he or she has for me. As I am moving forward, I am moving forward divergently from my leader. So, I am moving forward and I am thinking I am making significant progress, but I am hearing from my leader that he or she needs more out of me. It is very demotivating. We need clear expectations and shared understanding, and then we can move on.

A third issue is piling on. Everybody has more to do every day than there is time to do. What happens is that every time or every other time I meet with my supervisor, something else is brought up that is important and I focus on it without something being taken away.

Best-in-class companies start to drive accountability with a dashboard. Dashboards provide a way to have information available and accessible to everybody. Everybody has the same information that they can reference from moment to moment to know where we are now. They also have specific goals that are broken down individually. Every key initiative or objective in an organization is really a system of goals, and every goal is something that applies to each individual throughout the organization. Each individual has to have a real understanding of their goal and how and to what it links. The third way to drive accountability is to align resources with the goals. With alignment as we move forward, we have what we need, to do what we need to do, in the time that we have to do it.

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