holding people accountable

First, let’s define accountability in real-world business terms. You have financial, sales, service, and operational goals that enable your company to grow and thrive. Company leaders, managers, and employees must “do stuff” every week to meet those goals. Any amount of “not doing” (lack of execution) will keep you from achieving your goals.

Accountability is simply defined as doing the things that enable you to achieve your goals. Those who are not accountable have a multitude of excuses for not doing, while accountable people routinely do what needs to be done without excuses.

There are many reasons for a lack of accountability, but I’ll highlight the top three and the steps you can take to begin increasing accountability.

The top 3 Reasons for a Lack of Accountability

  1. A lack of clarity or specificity around responsibilities for a job/seat/role.
  2. No clearly defined process to ensure execution consistency.
  3. No measurements to ensure that people are doing what needs to be done.

How to Increase and Improve Accountability

The Accountability Chart

The typical organization chart simply shows a hierarchy of job titles, and sometimes names in the appropriate boxes. It usually a snapshot that quickly goes out of date. To create an Accountability Chart, you look ahead to identify the specific tasks and actions that will enable you to achieve your goals in the next year or two.

You then translate those tasks and actions into specific “seats” (roles) and identify the critical three to five responsibilities (accountabilities) for those seats. The Accountability is task-oriented and more closely tied to your stated company goals.

The 3-Step Process Documenter

Few companies take the time to document their core processes. Each plumber, electrician, sales person, or customer support rep will do the job his or her own way. The 3-Step Process documenter has you identify your core processes, document the 20% of the steps that ensure 80% success, and share these processes with everyone. You create more execution consistency, reduce excuses, and can keep people from avoiding the most critical steps.

The Scorecard and Measurables

At the highest level of the organization, you have sales, service, operations, financial, and other goals. These goals are achieved through the completion of certain actions (scheduling a sales meeting, for example).

The leadership team creates a Scorecard with 10 to 15 high-level metrics that can tell them if they are on or off track toward their goals. For example, if on-time delivery is the most critical measurement for customer retention, they will track that number.

On-time delivery is achieved through certain actions of other employees. Each of those employees will have one to three “measurables” that help them to track the activities they do that will help to achieve the on-time delivery goals. Thus, the employees are accountable to complete their actions successfully AND to helping achieve the larger goal that is tracked by the leadership team.

Everyone, from the CEO-down is accountable to his or her numbers. When checked weekly, they can hold each other accountable. The leadership team can easily spot a trending problem and go directly to the employee(s) responsible for the measurements that roll up to the bigger picture.

Easy-peasy.