Accountability is about making sure that others are productive, and holding them accountable for doing their part to meet their objectives to make your organization successful.
Please check out the Featured Articles from our Accountability Library to get you started.
Recently, I have been working with a young CEO-in-waiting who is eager to move into the top spot. To his credit, he recognizes that his struggle to “think strategically” may be keeping him back.H ere are 4 Swing Thoughts to help you elevate your thinking and get to the strategic level.
On a tactical level, the young CEO-in-waiting is very efficient, discharging the assignments given to him, working his way through his daily action list and dispatching players to their intended destinations.
He’s proud of his accomplishments, as he should be, but he “can’t see the lawn for the blades of grass,” and is constantly wrestling with how to develop a strategic perspective.
What’s Holding You Back?
Interestingly, many executives bear a subconscious fear about actually getting to that strategic level.
After all, it’s a little harder to figure out what to do than to simply — do. It’s more demanding to establish the flight plan than to follow it. Creating the plan also demands more personal accountability, the conundrum that befuddles so many executives in the first place.
What does it mean to “think strategically?”
Most executives seem to recognize when they’re not doing it, but don’t know how to attain that perspective. They get bogged down in the tactical details of their daily agenda, turning the dials but unsure about which ones belong on the dashboard.
There are several approaches to this dilemma, so let me offer a handful of simple triggers, any one of which may ignite those strategic brainwaves.
If you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.A re you diligent about keeping track or have you just given up?
If you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.
It’s usually those things we’ve promised someone we would do that day FOR SURE … a small thing, easily done … but then, in the firestorm at the office, we completely forget about it until we hit home and are gently reminded about our oversight … again.
Yes, it could be very minor but it’s often one of those nagging little nuggets that keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
What is a Routines List?
Accountability comes up as one of the top 3 issues on the minds of CEOs in almost every conversation I have with them.T hey know, deep in their bones, that unless they build an organization that embeds this elusive concept into its DNA, the chances of achieving their goals will be equally elusive.
When does Accountability begin?
“When is it no longer my responsibility to get people to complete their assignments … and where does their responsibility to perform begin?” a North Bay CEO asked me recently.
“Your responsibility never ends … and neither does theirs,” I said.
“Your job is to work tirelessly to build accountability into the organization so that your team understands that being held accountable is the cornerstone of a strong, successful organization. It is not punitive.”
Recently, we’ve discussed personal accountability as the “singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.”
We’ve also discussed the After Action Review a valuable teaching tool that reinforces accountability and inspires a culture of continuous improvement.
An organization focused on accountability might be seen as the thread that connects our personal accountability …
–talking the talk, and, the After Action Review as …
walking the walk.
But what is it, really?
What is Accountability … Really?
In simple terms, accountability is a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions.
It’s being reliable and making certain that the commitments we make, from the perspective of others, have been kept. For a responsible culture to prevail, each of us must make certain that those commitments are honest – and honored.
At the core of accountability is the requirement to set clear expectations.
After Action Reviews are a powerful force to learn from what went right … and what went wrong.L earn these 4 Principles to make it work for your team and organization.
Many years ago when we lived in the Midwest, we became very good friends with a young couple down the street.
He was a fellow fraternity brother, from another college, but I remember him as a super bright physician with a unique ability to describe complex medical subjects in layman’s language.
After Action Reviews are for Learning – NOT Blame
One day, he asked me if I’d like to go to work with him on Saturday. He’d show me around, we’d have lunch, hang out.
He couldn’t leave for lunch, but he would bring along some homemade sandwiches, bologna with lots of ketchup, he said, and I could sit in his pathology lab as he performed an autopsy … and while he was cutting and sawing, we would enjoy our lunch together.
It was when he started laughing that I realized why my vision of an overloaded bologna sandwich, dripping with ketchup alongside an autopsy table, was kicking up a firestorm in my gut.
The Power of One concept is not new — it’s the bedrock of everything from motivational speeches to Army One.S o, why not begin by setting an example of personal accountability that can be emulated throughout your organization?
There’s an entire industry devoted to the power we have over our destiny.
In the context of Becoming a More Effective Leader, you can view the Power of One as a series of concentric circles that ripple outward from the center … from where you stand as a business leader.
God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Nieburh
With a jittery economy and an historical presidential election on the horizon, we’ve been inundated with economic data, shards of doubt and glimmers of hope. While we can’t ignore these external forces, we can’t allow them to deter our commitment to reclaiming control of our agenda.
It all starts with Personal Accountability
As a result, there’s no better topic with which to start than Personal Accountability, the singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed how it’s possible for different cultures to produce equally profound results.H ow do you create a mindset where everyone takes full responsibility for their actions and refuses to blame outside forces for failure or disappointment?
Déjà vu all over again?
How often have you heard that phrase banging against your skull … and how often was it telling you …
“I’ve been here before.”
“Didn’t we already solve this problem?”
“Why does this subject keep coming up all the time?”
Why do these issues keep resurfacing?
We’ve been talking about culture and accountability over the last few weeks, and as I’m sure in your experience, you’ve already discovered how often so many of these issues continue to be the same challenges year after year.
They’re constantly resurfacing, often in disguise as a different issue altogether … but really, the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.
Have we become dumb and dumberer?
Why do these same issues keep popping up like whack-a-moles?
We’ve been exploring the impact of different cultures and how they affect our organizations.W hat are the common threads shared by these radically different cultures that you can apply to make your company equally successful?
“Lary, give this customer a call. We’ve just received an unauthorized return, and I want these shoes sent back. Funny how the green shoes they bought don’t fit and the red ones fit perfectly.”
It wasn’t uncommon for the Chairman of company North (remember, “N” for “Nasty”?) to stop by my office with a message like this. His remarks were actually a code:
“The red shoes sold well but the green ones the customer bought aren’t selling … so now they’re claiming they don’t fit so they can return them. We’ve had no other such complaints. Tell them we won’t accept them and ship them back.”
I made a note to contact the customer, figuring I’d call them after lunch when I would be more likely to catch them three time zones away. No e-mail back then.
Unexpectedly, the Chairman returned to my office 20 minutes later to ask,
“What did they say?”
The first few times this happened I asked,
failing to make the connection he expected.
While I learned the nuances of merchandising economics with these examples, what I finally realized was that the Chairman expected me to drop everything and call them immediately.
He wasn’t happy,
“What else are you doing?”,
and after a few unpleasant encounters, I finally caught on.
Last week, in Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results?, I posed the question: If measured by financial performance, can dramatically different organizations be equally successful?I n this short series about culture development, we’ll take a look at how sound business principles and cultural patterns often collide within an organization’s walls.
How can opposing cultures both succeed?
In many ways, it doesn’t seem fair that both charitable and churlish cultures can thrive.
It’s easy to embrace the benevolent culture created by Sid Rich (we’ll call it Company South, “S” for Sid) as profiled in the first article in this series.
His company deserves to be successful.
Wouldn’t it be great if that was the company you worked for?
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein
What if you’re stuck on the other side of the tracks?
Contrarily, when you look across the aisle at the rough and tumble world of Company North (“N” for Nasty), highlighted by temper tantrums, public floggings and a petulant devotion to spending a dime on anything, we’re either glad we’re not working there … or wishing we didn’t.
Some powerful lessons are evident as we compare and contrast these companies, their styles and culture, although some lessons are not very inviting.
I have been married forever to a beautiful woman and have one spectacular daughter who has dedicated her life to helping children with life-threatening illnesses.Read more ….