Is Accountability Alive and Well in Your Organization?

Is Accountability Alive and Well in Your Organization?

Is it clear who is accountable for tasks, processes, actions, etc. in your organization?  Is your executive team clear on what accountability means? 

In our firm that specializes in helping executive teams scale and realize the results they desire; we often hear varying answers to these questions. Often times, blame and confusion about what it truly means to be accountable are prevalent in the responses.

Accountability is an important foundational aspect of building a healthy organization. If you can take the time to get clarity and understand the differences between accountability, responsibility, and authority; you may see significant improvements and better results in your business.

Simon Sinek said, “Accountability is hard. Blame is easy. One builds trust and the other destroys it.” Twitter. Jul 20, 2017

Take a moment and ask yourself, am I accountable?  

Would this question cause you to pause, ponder, and think about what that really means? Or, would you know instantly that your answer is a resounding yes…or no?  No matter if you’re an entrepreneur, corporate executive, “solopreneur”, leader of a department, parent, or hold any role in between – this word carries various meaning to many of us.  

In the context of a team or company, this is a hot topic because we want others to be accountable and yet often avoid holding ourselves accountable.  It might be easy to demand accountability from others and more challenging to do the same for ourselves. We may find a sense of security or comfort in simply telling ourselves that we are accountable, rather than taking the bold and actionable steps it requires to truly be accountable. Wouldn’t it be a perfect world if all were in alignment? Our systems would run smoothly, our teams would be productive, and everyone would do what they are supposed to do.  

In the teachings of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni, the foundational dysfunction is absence of trust.  Just maybe, one of the things that contributes to that absence is the misunderstanding of accountability. 

At Assured Strategy, we teach the difference between 3 important words and roles that each company should wrestle with and understand fully: Accountability, responsibility, and authority. Once the roles are established, another important step is to confirm who has each role and ask for a commitment from the team members of their understanding.

Accountability is the one person who is assigned to be the voice.  This individual has the “ability to count,” and can track the progress of a task and speak up when issues arise.

Responsibility is given to the person(s) assigned to act or do the actual work.

Authority is the person or people who make the decision(s) associated with a given task.

A story to exemplify this principle of accountability is when a Director of Marketing is accountable to share the status of a survey project and report the results once staff have compiled the results and written the report. The Director of Marketing isn’t responsible for conducting the survey but is accountable for giving the survey results voice and sharing results with the executive team. The CEO then has the authority to make the final decision for the next action.

Sometimes we can have a combination of accountability, responsibility and/or authority on any given task or assignment.

In conclusion, understanding the meaning of these important roles in your  company is one way you can help reduce confusion and align your team’s efforts.  Owning accountability, responsibility, and authority on your organization helps to pave a clear communication path to all walk together toward the company goal and results. 

If you’re ready to embark on your journey towards improved results, click here for a free accountability coaching session.

Assured Strategy is a Business Strategy Coaching Firm that focuses on Strategic Coaching, Executive Coaching, Performance Coaching, and Leadership Training throughout North America with the experience to help companies succeed and grow. Assured Strategy’s coaches educate and mentor CEOs and executive teams in people, strategy, execution, cash, leadership and team building, and the company has represented more than 250 businesses. Assured Strategy offers business strategy coaching, workshops, webinars, leadership groups, employee assessments, and business process improvement services to empower its clients to think strategically and effectively execute their business objectives. For more information, browse our website or call (702) 421-3212.

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