Test Your Accountability

One of the major challenges facing organisations today is to ensure accountability through its policies, procedures, and philosophies.  All of us have experienced numerous examples of businesses that have established rules, standards, expectations, and policies, yet are continuously ignored, sabotaged, and/or broken for a variety of reasons.

As a manager, business owner or executive, ensuring that what you expect is actually happening on a routine basis is often a difficult, yet necessary, task.

Some examples reflecting a lack of accountability are:

  • favouring some employees over others
  • managing with an ego-centered rather than “other focused” style
  • inconsistent discipline for infractions
  • expecting certain behaviours without taking the time or effort to inspect whether the behaviour is actually happening
  • out-of-control arrogance with the owner and/or management team

You can’t manage your organisation, department, or group from behind your desk.  You just have to circulate, be visible, and get to know your people and what they’re doing. This takes commitment and time, but will pay positive dividends in the long run.

Perceptions become reality in the minds of employees.  It doesn’t matter if what they believe is true or not. If they believe it, then it’s true…their truth.

One of the best ways to determine the prevailing perceptions and attitudes in your organisation is to conduct an employee perception and attitude audit.  To be truly accurate and effective, it’s recommend you retain an outside coach or advisor to conduct such a survey or audit.  It should also be confidential.  The employees must feel free to share reality without any fear of retribution or punishment for delivering bad or critical feedback.

There are three things to think about when it comes to the concept of accountability in your business:

  • Expecting different results from the same, repeated behaviour is a mild form of insanity
  • You get the behaviour you reward in your organisation.  If you want to change behaviour, you must change the reward system you have in place
  • All culture flows top-down. You can’t change an organisation from the bottom-up