“How Do You Make People More Accountable?”

Recently, a business’s Integrator™ shared that they held their team “somewhat accountable.” Then they admitted this only happened if they were physically in the office. So, when this Integrator took time off, let’s just say things didn’t go according to plan. The team failed to hold meetings. Rocks and Scorecards sat neglected without updates. Focus fizzled. Frustrated, the Integrator wondered, “How do you make people more accountable?”

Sound familiar?

You Can’t Make Them

First off, you can’t actually make anyone do anything. Ever try convincing a toddler to go one way when they’re hellbent on going the opposite (usually into traffic)? It just doesn’t work. Our innate resistance to someone exerting their will on us starts young.

Instead of just trying to “make” someone accountable, you can create an environment of accountability as a leader.

Every leader with direct reports is responsible for leading, managing, and holding their team Accountable (LMA™). By leaning into the EOS® Tools, you can learn how to do this effectively.

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Confirm You Have the Right Team

How do you know someone is the right “fit” for your team? Tools like The People Analyzer™ and the Quarterly Conversation™ can give you an accurate picture of each team member.

The People Analyzer Tool

The People Analyzer objectively measures how well each team member aligns with the company’s core values.

Using a +, -, and +/- system, rate the person on how well they exhibit your core values so that:

  • + means they exhibit a particular value most of the time
  • – means they rarely exhibit it
  • +/- means they sometimes do

Leadership determines the bar, or the minimum ranking someone who fits the organization should exhibit. Then you compare each team member to that bar.
As a next step, consider how well an individual operates in their job as defined in The Accountability Chart™. Using Yes and No, determine whether they Get it (the aptitude and knowledge of how to do the role). Determine whether they Want it (enjoy doing the role). And finally determine whether they have the Capacity (time, experience, and skills) to do it.

You will evaluate each team member and then have them evaluate themselves. Do they live up to your company’s values and perform well in their roles? Schedule time with them to discuss the findings and implications each quarter.

Quarterly Conversations

Quarterly Conversations are simple one-hour one-to-one meetings with each of your direct reports every 90 days. Discuss your results from The People Analyzer and compare them to their self-evaluation.

You shouldn’t use this conversation as an official review. Instead, take this opportunity to discuss gaps and clarify expectations. Do their goals and objectives sync with the company’s, or are they in conflict with it? Once you know you have the right person in the right seat, you invite them to hold themselves accountable.

Communicate (Often)

Leaders often have to say something seven times before their team hears it for the first time.

Leaders often have to say something seven times before their team hears it for the first time.

Leaders often have to say something seven times before their team hears it for the first time.

You get the idea.

Communicating your expectations requires a multi-pronged strategy. Review expectations in meetings. Say them. Role-play how to address them. Write them down. And while it may feel like over-communicating, repeat expectations (even more) when things happen outside the norm.

Planning to head out of town like our Integrator friend from earlier? Frame expectations for what will happen during your absence.

Tell your team how their consistent performance allows you to leave the office to fulfill your job requirements or to take time off. They may not see themselves as part of the formula for success until you specifically share this.

Coach and Celebrate

Finally, when your people do perform, even at the expected level, take a moment to recognize and express gratitude. Catch them in the act of doing something well and draw attention to it. The positive feedback loop will encourage them to engage in the behavior more and inspire others to do the same.

These actions summarize the responsibilities that any leader with direct reports has as part of their LMA role.

One more thing to consider: Healthy things grow. Growing things change. After leaning into the tools, you may realize you need to make one great people move this quarter. That move may serve as the catalyst for driving even more accountability on your team without trying to make anyone do anything.

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