Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thoughts on accountability.

Accountability is often the determining factor for whether a company’s initiatives succeed or fail. I think of it as a mindset that demands a personal willingness to answer for outcomes produced (or not produced) “after the fact.” Going into any endeavor, it's essential that those involved have clarity about what their role is and what constitutes success. In addition, they need to have a mindset of ownership where they are individually and collectively responsible at the same time. This creates a culture of no fault, no blame, no guilt, where people are comfortable answering "yes" to the following statements:

• I'm accountable for understanding my role, the tasks I’m assigned, the final deliverables and all relevant due dates.

• It's up to me to be clear and successful in my role.

• If obstacles or conflicting priorities arise, it's still up to me to regain focus and create greater effectiveness.


Experience shows the following probabilities of completing a goal:

• Someone hears an idea – 10% probability.

• They consciously decide to adopt it – 25% probability.

• They decide when they will do it – 40% probability.

• They plan how they will do it – 50% probability.

• They commit to someone else that they will do it – 65% probability.

• They have a specific accountability appointment with the person they committed to – 95% probability.


So, here are some basic ground rules for effective accountability:

▪ Never let committees, groups or multiple persons be accountable for making something happen.

▪ Make sure one person is responsible and accountable for each key assignment.

▪ Establish SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bounded).

▪ Conduct regularly scheduled follow-up meetings to gauge progress on goals and to hold people accountable.

▪ If people consistently fail to get important things done, give them different jobs or replace them with new people. The bottom line is if people are unteachable, untrainable or unwilling, they'll end up unemployed

1 comment:

Jon said...

Sounds very much like Scrum... at least in base theory.