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Creating a Culture of Accountability

I read this article written recently by Tom Loeblein, President/CEO of Healthcare Management Consultants, and it completely resonated with me. I see so many organizations that wrestle with the exact challenges regarding accountability that Tom discusses. And, I see business owners and managers struggle with (and complain about) low/non-performing employees, but take little corrective action.

These same leaders typically understand the negative impact that under-performing employees have on the organization, but often have myriad reasons and excuses why they allow the situation to exist. Essentially, they are willfully accepting lesser results — as well as the negative impact that these situations have on their better-performing employees. So, I hope this article is the "kick in the pants" that those of you need who are allowing a lack of accountability to undermine your organization and your employees. As Tom note below: "Creating a culture of accountability isn’t easy but it is absolutely critical for successful companies."

Identifying the Greatest Weakness in Your Organization

"When your teammate looks you in the eye and holds you accountable, that’s the greatest kind of leadership there is." Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers Coach

Why is your company not growing like you know it could? Could it be that you are missing that key ingredient – accountability? Many organizations simply do a poor job holding others accountable. This can be crippling because leaders that fail to hold themselves accountable rarely hold others accountable. Thus, starting the trickle-down mentality where no one is being held accountable.

Coach Bill Belichick just won his fifth Super Bowl as head coach of the New England Patriots setting a new record. Want to know his secret? Tom Brady, his star quarterback says of Belichick "Coach Belichick holds us accountable every day."

"Accountability breeds response-ability." Stephen Covey

Our firm is similar to many of our clients – we have a leadership team of equal partners. This poses an interesting challenge for accountability. How does one "owner" hold another "owner" accountable? The answer is that it requires an incredible amount of trust. It also requires that each partner clearly understand the vision and mission of the firm and are able to put the good of the firm above self.

We have clients that have a single owner but struggle with holding a long-time office manager accountable for fear of upsetting her. It is just simpler to not address it. At my firm, we have found that accountability does not have to be ignored. You can, and must, create a culture of accountability if you want to improve the success of your business.

3 Steps to Creating a Culture of Accountability

1.  Set Clear Expectations

  • What does a successful outcome look like?
  • What are the consequences of not accomplishing the goal?
  • How will this be measured?
  • Why is this important?

2. Inspect What You Expect

  • Get periodic updates (daily or weekly)
  • What additional resources are needed?
  • Review the metrics for the requirement

3.  Give Feedback

  • Address the work and behavior – not the person
  • What needs to change?
  • Take appropriate action

"I don’t know if all NFL people hold their guys accountable like the Patriots and Coach Belichick." Ken Niumatalolo, Navy Football Head Coach

Creating a culture of accountability isn’t easy but it is absolutely critical for successful companies.

What step do you need to make to create a culture of accountability in your organization?