BUSINESS: CREATING A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Are you among the individuals that believe accountability is an odd concept? It has been defined as having the responsibility and authority to act and fully accept the natural and logical consequences for the results of one’s actions.

Personal accountability is an admirable trait that everyone should strive to attain. But as an entrepreneur, it is essential to create a culture of accountability for your employees and your business as a whole.

While some may attach a negative air to the word accountability, research indicates that holding people accountable for their results has very positive effects: greater accuracy of work, better response to role obligations, more vigilant problem solving, better decision making, more cooperation with co-workers and higher team satisfaction.

In this article, we will be looking at creating a culture of accountability using six simply S-I-M-P-L-E tips that will bring about a firm foundation for accountability in your business.

Set expectations
It is important to set firm, clear and concise expectations for your business. Accountability will not grow where you and your employees are unsure of the purpose and vision of your business. Employees need to know what is expected of them before they in turn can be expected to be held accountable.

You can set expectations by:
  • Clearly communicating the business mission and vision.
  • Emphasizing the urgency and importance of whatever task you have assigned.
  • Laying out the standards that will be upheld throughout the process. Be specific regarding end results, time frames and expected levels of effort.
  • Clearly and explicitly defining each member’s role and responsibilities.
The clearer initial goals and expectations are, the less time will be spend arguing when any employee is held accountable because of ambiguous initial goals.

Invite Commitment
Although you may make these initial conditions and goals clear, it is important to have the employees commit to these standards and expectations. Work with them to make sure that everyone commits to their role, understanding how it will benefit both the business and the employees. Be sure to put it in writing, too. This will give the commitment a physical representation that cannot be debated.

Accountability grows when this connection is made, and is enhanced when everyone is aware of the commitment. And where employees are further motivated to accomplish their tasks, they readily welcome you holding them accountable for their actions or lack thereof.

Measure progress
Measure the progress of employees in alignment with the goals and expectations set out at the beginning. Goals can only be measured when they are quantified. Compare the measured expected results to the goals to find out where employees need the most improvement.

Provide feedback
After setting clear expectations, committing to set goals, and measuring progress, it is important to provide feedback to team members so that there can be improvement towards the overall goal. When creating a culture of accountability, make sure that the feedback that you do give highlights both the positive things (accomplishments) and the areas where employees can improve.

Here are two tips to give the best feedback possible:
  • Talk about the work and behaviour, not the person.
  • Work with employee to improve the situation.
Link to consequences
Not all people are driven by internal motivating factors. So, in creating a culture of accountability, it is important to emphasize the link to consequences, whether as a ‘whip’ behind the employees to drive them forward, or as a carrot for them to chase. As a business owner, it is important to assess and realize which type of motivation different people may need.

Evaluate effectiveness
Not all methods of operation are effective. Waiting until the end of the process or project to evaluate the effectiveness can severely affect the potential of your employees and the business as a whole. Step aside and assess the plan from time to time and evaluate the effectiveness of each component, good and bad, in relation to the goal and mission.

Creating a culture of accountability does not end with evaluating effectiveness, and it is not established by going through this process one time. Once you take stock in the efficiency of the process and team, use the information you have gained to improve the process moving forward.

When assigning a task, make sure that at the end of the day, a single person is responsible for its completion. It is acceptable to have a team helping to get it done, but when something goes wrong that person is the only one accountable. This eliminates confusion and opportunities to blame someone else.

What have you done to create or promote a culture of accountability in your business? Share those tips below! 


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