“Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen Covey
What is accountability? The dictionary defines it as the state or quality of being accountable. It is the decision to be responsible for your actions and your work within your team and company.
Let’s break this down in real terms...
Accountability means you follow through and do what you say you are going to do. You don’t make excuses or blame others.
As a leader, I lean heavily on Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions Of A Team. He describes how many teams avoid accountability. It creates a ripple effect. They don’t trust each other and as a result won’t discuss matters honestly. They fail to hold each other to a standard of accountability. In this environment, the team’s work becomes unfocused, their energy dissipates, and things fall apart.
Without accountability, your team cannot make progress. Leaders have to break through this avoidance, or even fear, of accountability in order to achieve results.
At Gibson, we’re an EOS company and this gives us an operating system to help create a culture of accountability. The system has so many touchpoints and tools built-in throughout the year, the quarter, and even the week which allow us to stay on the same page and remain accountable.
For example, our weekly L10 meetings are a chance to check in with the team – How did this week go? What are my metrics? Am I completing my to-dos to stay on top of my rocks? When these items are reviewed and discussed as a team on a regular basis, there is more compulsion to adhere to them or push yourself to do better.
Fostering accountability starts with the leader. Even if you have the best system in place, you have to be able to hold yourself accountable before you can hold others accountable. This is something I learned very quickly when I made the shift to a leadership role. If I couldn’t myself do what I said I was going to do, then how could I ask others to remain accountable?
Being accountable is key to ownership. As an employee-owner of Gibson, it is my duty to get my job done and to work as a team to meet our goals each quarter and throughout the year for the success of our company.
Here are three ways to build accountability on your team:
- Ensure goals and responsibilities are clearly identified. Team members need to understand what the team is working towards and what their role is.
- Conduct regular check-ups. There needs to be an established way to check in on progress. This can help motivate performance and allow a venue for team members to hold each other accountable.
- Keep the focus on the team. Align your team around a common purpose and base rewards on the team’s achievements rather than just the performance of individuals.
Do you have any others to add to this list?