Are You & Your People Truly Accountable for Business Performance?
As Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
For your organisation and people to be truly accountable, they should not simply be taking the credit when it goes well or the blame when things go wrong. Accountability is critically about delivering commitments and producing the related outcomes, not just doing the job or its tasks.
True accountability needs strong commitments and then positive delivery.
Any business mentor will tell you that delivering on outcomes and strategies must be done proactively and thoughtfully, with initiative and careful thought required and action taken to achieve effective completion.
Increasing the level of accountability and delivery of outcomes tends to increase motivation, and the commitment to work contribution also improves with motivation and improved morale. This in turn leads to higher performance and improved overall individual and business performance success.
Accountability Must Start At the Top
When it comes to accountability, good business leaders must lead by example. They must set accountable business cultures, where everyone (including themselves) delivers on their commitments to doing their job well and delivering on outcomes.
Good senior leaders and managers understand themselves and their people. All good leaders will appreciate that each person and team has their own unique motivational drivers. These need to be harnessed to galvanise the individuals and teams to increase their delivery of committed outcomes.
When accepting responsibility and being accountable, you must strive to understand your own behaviour and the consequences of how it impacts on the business’s performance.
If an individual in the organisation does not accept responsibility for their actions or failures, it will be difficult for them to develop and enhance their contribution to the business, or for the business to succeed in its strategic objectives. It can also affect their career and development.
Further, it is not just motivational but strong senior leadership and management that is necessary for a business to achieve success.
Senior leadership and management are responsible for keeping their people (and themselves) in check and instilling trust and confidence throughout the organisation and with other stakeholders.
If the leadership and management are strong, delivering on outcomes, confident and trustworthy, then their people will instinctively have more faith in their leadership and be more likely to hold themselves accountable for their own actions and performance.
Tips for Improving Accountability
To deliver on strategy and performance, leaders must:
- Clearly define the business strategy and set challenging performance expectations
- Have well developed polices and organisational structures to set performance targets and to measure their delivery
- Negotiate to get committed accountability and responsibility for performance which cascades down from the overall strategies to business units and individuals setting targets, KPIs and objectives
- Lead well to facilitate the performance, accountability and target business culture
- Hold themselves and their people accountable to targets and objectives, with adherence to policy, procedures and target culture
- For all individuals and teams in the organisation, give and receive regular formal and informal feedback on performance, KPIs, delivery of outcomes and strategy, compliance with policies and procedures, motivation and living the business culture. Also take the opportunity to identify where the staff member can be trained and improved to enhance their contribution and their motivation. Then analyse the feedback and make improvements
- It is very important to provide your people with regular feedback – both positive and negative.
- Positive feedback creates a sense of accomplishment in the employee and further improves their ability and confidence, so that they work better to achieve their goals and objectives.
- Pay your people well for delivery and commitment to the business and its strategy, results, accountability, initiative, culture and policy
- Have an open approach to generating new ideas for improving the business and identifying new opportunities and threats, and have some formal appraisal of those ideas raised. This will get buy-in from your people and enhance the business
- Reappraise the strategy and performance expectations from feedback and results
- At least annually, clearly re-define strategy and performance expectations based on the previous year and forward-looking analyses of the existing and potential:
- Markets, customers, sales, products and services, and competitors
- SWOT analysis
- Internet and social media, digital transformation, IT and artificial Intelligence
- Operations and supply chain
- Financial: analysis, performance and funding
- Research and development
- Organisation and people
- Risk identification and assessment
- Ideas generated throughout the year
- Succession plans
- Takeovers, mergers and divestments
- Policy and procedures changes needed
Business mentor professionals are routinely asked how to identify accountability issues, put in place strategies to fix any problems, and make accountability a core part of the organisation’s culture. Business mentoring can help you create a business culture of accountability within your organisation to deliver performance and strategy.