The success of your business hinges on how well everyone works together in carrying out the mission critical work. You need each person take ownership of his responsibilities.
When individuals are clear on what they are accountable for and make conscious effort to do what is needed to meet those objectives, you have conscious accountability. An effective tool to facilitate conscious accountability is performance monitoring.
To create a culture of conscious accountability, leaders need to communicate, educate, and demonstrate effective performance monitoring.
First, communication is about sharing the ‘why’ of performance monitoring. It is impossible to know if any work is done well without monitoring. Make it clear that monitoring is not just on individuals’ performance, but also on how well processes and rules are supporting or prohibiting progress. By communicating why measurement is needed and encouraging employees to be forthcoming in identifying problems, you engage them in helping the business succeed. The engagement leads to better collaboration.
Second, education is about training on the ‘how’, the common approach to measurement, reporting, and follow up. I’ll like to emphasize the importance of establishing a common approach. It is needed for coherence across the organization, particularly for results that cross multiple departments. Consistency eliminates unnecessary conflicts. Education provides the foundational knowledge and awareness of how accountability is assigned.
Third, demonstration is about having leaders role-model the behaviors for communicating performance goals, reviewing results, identifying actions to make improvements, as well as holding themselves accountable for course correction. This takes discipline and commitment from the management team. The discipline needs to be cascaded to all working levels, so the demonstration component is crucial for replication.
When everyone in the business is clear on the results he is responsible for, how they are monitored, and the need for ownership for action, you have a culture for conscious accountability. Employees become more at ease about sharing inferior results and causes. They won’t sweep problems under the rug. Instead, they step up to the plate and work with others to improve.