Building Accountability into Your Organization

written on October 06, 2008 by Eric Kurjan

Rate this Article

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Related Items

Sales Process Critical to Successful Strategic Plan
written on July 05, 2012 by Jeanne Coughlin
It is a Killer!!
written on May 24, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
How to Give Backbone to Your Business Objectives
written on May 24, 2012 by Jeanne Coughlin
CEO Profiling-The Four Kinds of CEOs-Again
written on May 16, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
Employees Favor a Metrics-Oriented Culture
written on April 11, 2012 by Jeanne Coughlin
It's Worse Than I Thought!
written on March 29, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
Top Performers Need Purpose and Plan
written on March 05, 2012 by Jeanne Coughlin
We're in it for the Money!
written on March 05, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
Personals – I am looking for…..
written on January 20, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
‘Tis the Season - Strategic Planning –It’s a real Party!!
written on December 01, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Why Floss?
written on October 27, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Leading Horses to Water- Part II- Drink the Water
written on August 18, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Profit Sooner: Take this test to see if you have the recipe for a successful business.
written on August 04, 2011 by Shelley Solomon Cull
Leading Horses to Water
written on June 06, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Success Strategies: Lessons Learned from Jim, Dan & Dr. Seuss
written on May 13, 2011 by Shelley Solomon Cull
Prioritize 'til it Hurts, Plan Your Ideal Week to Profit Sooner
written on April 11, 2011 by Shelley Solomon Cull
Got Time?
written on April 11, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Why Strategic Plans Fail
written on February 25, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today- Part IV
written on January 11, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization? Today Part III
written on December 13, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Where Is Your Organization Today? Part II
written on November 23, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today?
written on November 10, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Business Strategy Improvement by Being Different
written on August 04, 2010 by Dennis Sommer
What Real Leaders Do It Starts With Vision
written on June 07, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Setting Priorities to Execute Your Strategic Plan
written on May 25, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Managing A Family Owned Business
written on November 17, 2009 by Steve Krisfalusy
Strategic Planning Tis the Season already
written on October 06, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Profiling Part II The CEO Effectiveness Exam
written on September 10, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Profiling the Four Kinds of CEOs
written on August 04, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Fatigue and What You Can Do About It
written on June 25, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
Avoid the Financial Fire Drill Tips for Not Getting Burned During an Economic Firestorm
written on March 24, 2009 by Steve Krisfalusy
Execution IS the New Strategy
written on March 16, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
Strategic Planning Dont call it Annual and Its Certainly Not an Event
written on February 12, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
For 2009 Set Goals Not Resolutions
written on January 14, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
Hope is Not a Strategy
written on December 02, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
The 6 Myths of Strategic Planning
written on November 03, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
If You Cant Measure It You Cant Manage It
written on September 09, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Growth Ideas In Times of Economic Uncertainty
written on August 07, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Execution the art of getting it done
written on July 15, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Change is inevitable failure is optional Part II
written on June 19, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Change Is Inevitable Failure is Optional PART I
written on June 04, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Get your Strategic Plan to Jump off the Shelf
written on May 16, 2008 by Eric Kurjan

View All

More By This Expert

It's a Killer!!
written on May 24, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Profiling-The Four Kinds of CEOs-Again
written on May 16, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
It Is Worse Than I Thought
written on March 29, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
We're in it for the Money!
written on March 05, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
Personals – I am looking for…..
written on January 20, 2012 by Eric Kurjan
‘Tis the Season - Strategic Planning –It’s a real Party!!
written on December 01, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Why Floss?
written on October 27, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Leading Horses to Water- Part II- Drink the Water
written on August 18, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
What a Waste of Time
written on July 22, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Leading Horses to Water
written on June 06, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Why Change?
written on May 02, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Got Time?
written on April 11, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Why Strategic Plans Fail
written on February 25, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today- Part V
written on February 01, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today- Part IV
written on January 11, 2011 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today Part III
written on December 13, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today Part II
written on November 23, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Where is Your Organization Today
written on November 10, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
What Real Leaders Do It Starts With Vision
written on June 07, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Setting Priorities to Execute Your Strategic Plan
written on May 25, 2010 by Eric Kurjan
Strategic Planning - Tis the Season... already?
written on October 06, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Profiling - Part II; The CEO Effectiveness Exam
written on September 10, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Profiling - the Four Kinds of CEOs
written on August 04, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
CEO Fatigue and What You Can Do About It
written on June 25, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
When CEOs Fail To Implement Change and What To Do About It
written on May 04, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
Execution IS the New Strategy
written on March 16, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
Strategic Planning - Don't call it Annual, and It's Certainly Not an Event
written on February 12, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
For 2009 Set Goals, Not Resolutions
written on January 14, 2009 by Eric Kurjan
Hope is Not a Strategy
written on December 02, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
The 6 Myths of Strategic Planning
written on November 03, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It
written on September 09, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Growth Ideas In Times of Economic Uncertainty
written on August 07, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Execution - the art of getting it done!
written on July 15, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Change is inevitable; failure is optional - Part II
written on June 19, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Change Is Inevitable, Failure is Optional - PART I
written on June 04, 2008 by Eric Kurjan
Get your Strategic Plan to Jump off the Shelf
written on May 16, 2008 by Eric Kurjan

View All

I recently walked into a local coffee shop and instead of being greeted by the barista in the expected cheerful manner, I was just about ignored.  I am sure I was interrupting the fascinating exploits of a co-worker's past weekend activities but excuse me, don't you have a customer to serve?  All I could think about was where I was going buy my next cup of coffee and I was sure it wasn't in that shop. I was observing a perfect case of poor accountability in action.

Why is accountability such a "hot topic" these days?

First, consider the economic impact:  It's estimated that a lack of accountability costs Corporate America tens of billions of dollars each year in terms of employee re-work, missed deadlines, workplace conflicts and misunderstandings.  Billions more are lost by companies that lose loyal customers because of a lack of employee accountability, typically resulting from poor customer service or a poor quality product. 

These days, it seems that the organizational pendulum has swung from authoritarian to permissive. Accountability is the opposite of permissiveness. The lack of accountability in today's organizations protects the worst employees and hurts the best performers. Don't believe me? Tomorrow, ask five employees who the worst performer is. They know. They're also likely to add, "Why doesn't someone do something about it? It's hurting our customer service and our profitability...He's getting away with murder, and the rest of us are paying the price."

How do we go about fixing this situation in our own organizations? First, let's consider what accountability is, and then define how to build an organizational culture that encourages accountability.

If you walk into a room and ask ten people what accountability means, you'll likely get ten different definitions. To some, it's something you make people do, as in "holding people accountable." To others, accountability means accepting responsibility, but only when a project goes off course, or it's too late to fix.     

By definition, accountability means being answerable or responsible for something.  Accountability involves taking responsibility for your work and the results of your daily activities.  Accountability opens the door to ownership - not necessarily financial ownership -- but certainly emotional and intellectual ownership, where someone acknowledges they're responsible for some aspect of the organization. 

Accountability can be understood better when you view your organization as a "system" of individuals, linked by mutuality and trust, taking personal and group responsibility to achieve something meaningful -- the mission, vision, and strategic position of your organization.

When it's all said and done, a workable definition of accountability might include the following elements: Taking responsibility for your own behavior; doing what's right consistently; demonstrating personal integrity, and actively participating in activities and interactions that support the strategy of your organization.

Let's take a further look at what accountability is.  Accountability is not something you "make" people do. It has to be chosen, accepted or agreed upon by the people within your organization. People must "buy into" being accountable and responsible.  For many, this is a new, unfamiliar, and sometimes, uncomfortable way to work.  Learning how to become accountable involves an element of discipline. Most importantly, individual purpose and personal meaning comes from accepting responsibility and learning to be accountable.  

Holding people accountable is really about the distribution of power and choice.  When people have more choice, they learn to be more responsible.  When they become more responsible, they can earn more freedom. By being accountable, they earn the trust of managers and coworkers. When they are more accountable, they understand their purpose and role within the organization and are committed to making things happen. 

Only organizations that can clearly identify, communicate the plan to their team, and then execute their plan are well-positioned to be able to build organizational accountability.   

A six-step framework to build organizational accountability is to: 

1. Decide What's Important (develop an authentic mission, vision, values, strategic position)

2. Set Goals That Lead (planning that includes measures, targets, projects)

3. Align Systems (streamline processes and resources so all resources support the goals)

4. Work the Plan (assure and measure so that each employee's plans and activities support the goals)

5. Innovate Purposefully (get to root causes quicker, make quicker and more informed decisions)

6. Step Back (assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, appraise performance results)

Accountability and positive organizational change come through a new set of conversations. So, what are you waiting for? Start having these conversations in your organization - today.

Eric Kurjan is the President of Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio. Six Disciplines brings "big company" process improvement to organization looking break beyond the status quo. For more information visit www.SixDisciplines.com/Cleveland, or call 419-581-2823.