Positive Accountability

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet 

Accountability: “The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.”When something goes wrong and the finger pointing begins, that is how most people perceive accountability. But success as a leader or as a productive team cannot occur without it. When accountability is front-loaded into strategy, early in implementation, before the outcome is known, then it strengthens relationships, eliminates surprises, improves performance and enhances job satisfaction.

The key to using accountability in a positive way is to provide specific details and clear expectations prior to strategy or project implementation. Then, producing a successful result involves securing continuous feedback.

At the start, after you have described your expectations with specificity (“success means/looks like…”), ensure that your team clearly understands your message by asking: “How do you interpret what I’ve just said?”

Set a high testing standard to measure quality, and as the project proceeds, frequently secure feedback about progress from all stakeholders: your team, customers, etc.

Accountability will be seen as positive when your commitments have been fulfilled in the eyes of others. For accountability to be utilized in a positive manner there must be clear expectations from both the sender and the receiver. And, it is both parties’ responsibility.

How clearly do you describe your expected strategy
or project outcomes before you launch?

 How regularly are you securing progress feedback vs. your success metrics after implementation?

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