How to Solve a Lack of Accountability

It is a new year and one of the biggest pain points we hear from prospective clients and from colleagues is dealing with a corporate culture that lacks accountability. Nothing is more de-motivating than to eagerly join a new company, ready to tackle a challenge and add value–as a consultant or as an employee–only to find that there is a pervasive lack of accountability. Luckily, Kevin Daum shared his tips in this Inc.com article, “The Secret to Improving Accountability:”

  1. Make the motivation clear and compelling. In wHolistic Change℠ terms, make the case for change and ensure that you communicate how the task (or change) will benefit the person or organization.
  2. Determine the consequence of both completion of the task and for leaving it undone. “Great leaders will establish the upside of completion and the down side of letting it slide so that those responsible clearly understand the importance and impact of getting it done.”
  3. Provide structure for how to complete the task. “Leave nothing to chance and remove all excuses.”

We are firm believers in W. Edwards Deming’s contention that the majority of people want to do a good job. If you pause to look for the root cause of this lack of accountability, you may find that the real problem is a lack of leadership appropriate to deliver what is expected. If this is the case, we recommend Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II, a fantastic tool that demonstrates that based on the task at hand and the person’s competence to complete the task, we as leaders need to adjust our style to help the individual successfully do the job.

In my career, I had one boss in particular who was the best situational leader I have ever met. He knew when to show me how to do something, when to coach me, when to support, and when to just delegate and let me run. The upshot of his leadership style was that he ran an organization that was highly accountable, very motivated, and that consistently delivered.

We hope that these tips will help you and your teams deliver consistently well in 2014!

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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