Build a Culture of Accountability: Five Ways to Enhance the Level of Accountability...

Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:07am EDT

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Build a Culture of Accountability: Five Ways to Enhance the Level of
Accountability in Your Organizations
'By making your employees more accountable, you make your organization more
productive.' - Jack Welch

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Holding people accountable for results
is the foundation of an organization's performance; it's management 101.  Yet
it appears there is a gap between knowing and doing.
    A new study conducted by OnPoint Consulting (www.onpointconsultingllc.com)
surveyed 400 leaders and found that 40% report that employees in their
organizations are not being held accountable for results.  "We were surprised
to find how pervasive this really is, particularly because few factors
negatively impact morale and productivity more than the perception that others
are not held accountable for results," says Darleen DeRosa, managing partner
at OnPoint Consulting, a firm that specializes in organizational and
leadership issues.
    Why do some organizations succeed at instilling accountability as a core
element of their culture and others fall short?  What can leaders do to create
a culture of accountability?  "Our research on top performing companies
identified five actions that have the greatest impact on an organization's
ability to build a culture of accountability and achieve results," says
DeRosa:
    1. Translate strategy into specific objectives.  Beyond developing a
shared picture of the company's strategic direction, it is necessary to
clarify priorities and translate these into specific department goals.  This
increases the likelihood that implementation plans will be targeted toward
high impact outcomes.  In addition, clear department goals facilitate
goal-setting at the individual level, which enhances accountability.
    2. Coordinate actions across levels and work units and follow up on
progress.  Coordinating and monitoring activity is a critical aspect of
execution and is an essential ingredient for building a culture of
accountability.  It's how companies keep people focused on high-priority goals
and actions.  The most effective leaders are ruthless in monitoring goals and
reinforcing appropriate actions and behaviors.
    3. Provide accurate and timely information to employees.  This involves
clear communication about strategic priorities, as well as ongoing dialogue
between managers and their direct reports.  Goal setting and coaching are key
elements of most organizations' performance management systems, yet too often,
this is viewed as an administrative, HR-driven activity, rather than a tool to
help achieve results.  When managers view performance management as a tool to
drive business results they are more successful in creating a culture of
accountability.
    4. Ensure that your actions are consistent with company objectives,
values, and priorities.  Leaders can't expect people to trust or follow them
if they are not willing to live by the same values and support the same
priorities that they require of others.  If leaders expect people to be
accountable, they must model this behavior and take swift action when people
fail to deliver results.
    5. Clarify expectations and head off potential problems.  Effective
managers use three simple techniques to drive accountability:       -- Clarify
exactly what needs to be done
       -- Establish a specific date for when the task needs to be completed
       -- Agree on checkpoints to review progress


    These actions are based on three fundamental premises:
       -- Never assume people know what's expected of them.  Even experienced
          employees will not know what unless these expectations are clearly
          articulated.
       -- Don't just talk about ideas.  Avoid the pitfall of talking about an
          idea, but not agreeing to actions and accountability.
       -- Don't ignore when someone has dropped the ball.  It is critical to
          provide timely feedback and help people understand what caused them
          to miss a commitment and, even more importantly, identify what they
          will do differently next time.


    While it is not easy to create a culture of accountability, it is critical
for business success.
    Editors: For a copy of the complete article or to arrange an interview,
please contact Darleen DeRosa at 203.488.1702 or
dderosa@onpointconsultingllc.com.
SOURCE  OnPoint Consulting

Darleen DeRosa of OnPoint Consulting, +1-203-488-1702,
dderosa@onpointconsultingllc.com
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