A recent Harvard Business Review article explored accountability in business. Accountability has become an area of investigation by consultants, social scientists and practitioners. Many experts feel that if you break the conundrum of accountability you will have solved one of the biggest issues in modern business.
Accountability requires an in-depth understanding of the marketplace, opportunities and competitors. Accountability requires each of us as individuals and collectively to articulate our value proposition — what I bring to myself and the Team every day. Accountability requires that we put everything on the table, no sacred cows; it requires realignment, straight talk and trust. At times it forces us to understand the good of the many outweigh the needs of a few.Here are two rules to consider when trying to do what’s right:
1. Help others while respecting their dignity. Offering assistance to colleagues is ethical. But, no matter how intended, the offer could come off as patronizing. Balance your desire to help with their need for self-respect.
2. Remember you are responsible to others. No one exists in isolation and while American work culture may emphasize individual achievement, remember that you rely on, impact, and collaborate with others.
Let’s consider a third point, practice accountability. It is vital to an organizations performance, culture and ethics that the Leader holds him/herself accountable first.
Growth and Change requires accountability. Accountable Organizations have the ability to reinvent themselves. They invest the time in planning, visioning and understand that reinvention may not be cut and paste. Being an accountable enterprise acknowledges discomfort. They understand that change will cause us to learn, try and use different tools, all can be discomforting.
“It is not only what we do,
but also what we do not do,
for which we are accountable.”
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” Stephen Covey
Accountable organizations aren’t perfect or lack problems. They make mistakes, bad decisions and have poor performing employees at all levels. The difference is that they address those issues in a way that supports their picture of success and helps those who don’t fit into their desired culture to find jobs elsewhere. Accountable organizations require people to be courageous and dedicated to their own personal excellence. Accountable organizations build a high sense of trust by demanding integrity at all levels for open communication, a positive focus on Finding solutions to problems and demonstrating respect for all roles that values each individual for his or her contribution. Accountable organizations work hard, play hard and demand a lot from their employees. They also give a lot back in the form of dignity, self-confidence, a true learning environment and being part of a winning team.
Accountability requires a strategic plan, a tactical plan and frequent reviews and adjustments. Accountability aligns top and bottom line growth. It’s not enough to go through the “Accountability bubble”. Being accountable is bold, compelling, tactical, integrated and inspiring. It gets you and everyone moving forward in a common direction from which real change flows. Accountability acknowledges growth, change, aging, the creation of new opportunities and if you’re lucky, really lucky friendship.
All the runners in a race compete, only one wins.
Lets run to win!