This is the second article of our “Six Non- Negotiable Disciplines”, the topic for this week will be accountability. We will start by what is and why is it important, and end with how to make it work on your organization as it works for Six Factor.
What is accountability and why is important?
Accountability refers to an obligation and/or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. In the workplace that can take several forms, from ensuring that employees will be on time for meetings to meeting client deadlines. That is not the same as taking the blame when something goes wrong, it's about noticing, asking for help and ensuring that it does not go wrong. So each employee you understand their roles, accepted it, assume the responsibility, and consequences of doing it properly. It is important to create accountability between teammates from day one, because it is the simplest way to build trust at all levels of your organization. It will also ensure that everyone have a clear and realistic expectation for each part of the whole.
Challenges cause by lack of accountability
The founders of Partners In Leadership ran a study about Workplace Accountability where they note that “one in five people are able to successfully hold others accountable for delivering on expectations in the workplace”. Some challenges that this lack of accountability may bring to the workplace are:
A decrease of team morale
Unclear company and team priorities
Lower employee satisfaction
Distrust between team members
Perceived as accepting lower standards
Profit loss and increase of cost
How does Sixers ensure accountability?
At Six Factor we ensure accountability in three steps:
1. Set clear goals throughout the organization
2. Define, offer and accept individually each role 3. Provide regular progress updates
Let me share with you more about how that works. We are all aware of the company goals and based on those, we create our individual goals. After that, we share with each other. Sometimes we need help, so we request it in a way that the other person can refuse to assist or not. It’s a two-way street, we do not assume that the other person will say something, we ask. For that, we use the RACI matrix. That provides the autonomy and the sense of ownership that the team thrives upon. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, which entailed the majority of us working from home, we instigated our ongoing virtual ‘daily connect’. Here we share our progress for each project, share successes, ask for help, or for feedback. This ensures that we have no delays or roadblocks to meet our deadlines. We have autonomy in each role, but we are a team that empowers each other. We lead by example, not by fear.
Our proactive way to face challenges and our supportive team culture ensures that no one feels neglected or demotivated. It’s not easy - accountability is hard and daily work but it is possible. All it takes is a consistent strategy like our 3 steps for effective accountability: Clarity, offer, acceptance, and progress update.
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