Albu On Strategy

Business Killer: Lack of Accountability

Business Killer: Lack of Accountability

The Webster dictionary defines Accountability as “an obligation or willingness (of an individual) to accept responsibility.” Holding oneself accountable is an important core value of many companies.  Unfortunately, to some individuals there are negative connotations to accountability, such as, “my boss is looking over my shoulder” or, “she will lay down the hammer if I don’t get this done.”  That kind of feeling can create a lot of unnecessary stress. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Not when accountability becomes the responsibility of the team to hold each other accountable.

At Albu Consulting, our goal is to establish strategy management as a core organizational capability and the right kind of accountability can help drive strategy execution and the achievement of the company’s vision.  To assist our clients to achieve and exceed their strategic objectives, we have partnered with Wiley’s program The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, created with Patrick Lencioni from his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  Why is this important?  Because working collaboratively with others is an essential ingredient to successful strategy execution.  

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team methodology is made up of five building blocks: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Results.  Following this logic, if team members Trust each other, they can be comfortable expressing their opinions through frank and honest Conflict.  That open dialogue leads to Commitment, which then gives team members permission to hold each other Accountable.  A productive, high functioning team has a lot of upside because they will:

  1. Make better, faster decisions,
  2. Tap into the skills and opinions of all members.
  3. Avoid wasting time and energy on destructive conflict.
  4. Achieve the results they want.

When it comes to accountability, what we have learned from our work with clients is that it can be transformational for an organization. Assuming the “team” has established trust, employees feel comfortable engaging in productive conflict, resulting in everyone committed to the activities required to achieve the strategic objectives. It then becomes easier for team members to remind each other when they are not living up to the agreed-on commitments.  This is an important paradigm shift.  Employees don’t rely only on leaders to be responsible for holding people accountable. It is far more effective when each member of the team takes on the responsibility of holding each other accountable for the good of the organization.  Direct peer-to-peer accountability is based on the notion that the distaste for letting down colleagues will motivate individuals more than any fear of authoritative punishment. 

Where we have seen accountability at work, the results have been remarkable.  Our goal in establishing strategy execution as an organizational competency is to help our clients achieve the kind of collaborative business environment that will drive the achievement of the full value of their strategy.  Are you striving to build a collaborative team that holds one another accountable?  What challenges or successes have you experienced?  We would like to hear your stories.

Posted in Business Killers, Leadership, Newsletter, Strategy Execution.