Do you have accountability issues in your company? If you said “No,” you’re in the minority. Accountability is usually one of the biggest issues that hold organizations back. However, people talk about a lack of accountability and yet I find that many don’t really know what is meant by the word. Let me see if I can help.
The Two Parts of Accountability
If you ask my friend Webster (the dictionary, if you’re missing my sense of humor), he also sees two parts to the meaning of accountability. The first component of accountability is that someone is responsible for something. The second part is that someone else makes sure that person accomplishes what they said they would do.
It looks something like this: “I can take that care of that, Joe.” An agreed-upon time elapses, “So, Tommy how did that go? You get everything done?” One of the main issues I am seeing lately with accountability is that the first part, someone taking responsibility, is missing.
The main reason for this failure is that managers are prone to make a lot of statements and not ask enough questions or get true commitment from their staff. The conversation is closer to, “Tommy, you have to get this done,” says Joe the Manager. Tommy nods his head. Time elapses, “Tommy, is this done yet? What? You don’t know how to do it? Why didn’t you say so when we talked a couple weeks ago?”
The reason why is that Joe didn’t get Tommy’s commitment. Without commitment, there is no way to really hold someone accountable. In other words, the person who is going to own the task needs to fully commit to completing it before it is possible to hold them accountable.
This is usually best done when they:
- See a need to do the task
- Are given the option as to when it will be completed
- Are able to complete it their way
- Have the resources to make it all happen
This can be a simple switch, so make sure not to over-complicate it. You will be amazed at what your company can accomplish when you find yourself in that minority that can say, “Nope, no accountability issues here.”
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