Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Best 10 Ways to Establish Accountability in Your Organization

Best 10 Ways to Establish Accountability in Your Organization

In the world of business, achieving high performance is difficult without accountability throughout the organization. Contrary to popular belief, accountability is not intended to generate fear by blaming people for making mistakes. Rather, accountability means that people are truly committed to helping each other be successful by keeping promises and agreements.

Simply put, when B is non-existent in an organization, communications break down, assigning blame becomes the norm, and non-performers are virtually ignored. However, these situations can be prevented in an environment of accountability, even with company downsizing or rightsizing initiatives. In addition, improving morale, maximizing operating performance, and increasing profitability is more attainable in an accountable organization. Here are 10 ways to create an environment of accountability in your organization.

1. Set Clear Expectations

By setting clear performance expectations and goals that are mutually agreed upon, you will reduce any confusion and misinterpretations. For the most part, expectations need to be documented, rather than verbalized to eliminate any opinions about non-performance.

2. Share Information

Accurate, frequent and factual information needs to be shared on an on-going basis. By keeping your people informed, prevents any miscues or people getting blindsided. Sadly, some businesses put their people on a “need to know basis” which only hinders performance and de-motivates the people.

3. Deal with Conflict

Undoubtedly, conflict will arise requiring it to be dealt with promptly and directly with the person or persons involved. Utilizing this approach is more effective than sidebar conversations deciding who is right or wrong, assessing blame, or even avoiding the situation entirely.

4. Address Non-Performers

Without question, people need to be told that poor performance is unacceptable and corrective action, including follow-up, needs to be implemented. Allowing people to perform poorly, without addressing the situation, will eventually infect hard-working top performers. Consequently, everyone loses by carrying a poor performer, including the individual.

5. Measure Results

Not surprisingly, it would be very difficult to know who was winning an athletic game if there was no scoreboard. In the same manner, measuring the results of individuals and teams, in order to let them know how they are doing is critical. As a result, this will make people aware of their successes and any necessary change in direction.

6. Focus on Processes

For better results, focus more on processes and procedures, rather than the behavior of the people. If you want to change or influence behavior, it is usually easier to change or modify the process. More often than not, the process is the root cause—not the people.

7. Coach More

Provide guidance to individuals that need to make a change, but don’t necessarily know the process to do so. These individuals differ from non-performers, since they have the desire and willingness to change. So often, people that are struggling are left to fend for themselves, because people are either too busy, or just not interested in helping them.

8.Be Proactive

Take a proactive approach in developing people and continuously improving systems. By doing so, increases the strength and capability of the organization for long term needs. In contrast, operating reactively as a normal course of business can cause chaos and mental drain that can dilute accountability throughout the organization..

9. Be Open and Honest

Share your feelings with the people by letting them know that you care about them and that you appreciate their contributions. After all, the people in the organization are the value-adders and should not have to guess about where they stand. Besides, at a minimum, this will reduce any myths or rumors that can erode morale.

10. Follow-Up on Commitments

Make sure that you follow-up on your promises to ensure consistency and, more importantly, people can rely on your word. Too many unkept promises are one of the surest ways to derail an accountable organization. However, if a promise can’t be delivered, than it is critical to let people know as soon as possible.

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