One of the most common concerns raised by business leaders is the desire to strengthen accountability in their organization. When Trilogy Partners examines this concern with them, we often discover that each business owner has his or her own definition of accountability, and they all have very different views on what accountability looks like. Let’s take a closer look at what the term means and the leadership behaviors you can focus on to strengthen accountability.
We define accountability as accepting responsibility; disclosing results in a transparent manner; being candid about your actions and the actions of others. We recognize that defining the term is much easier than bringing it to life inside an organization. The place to start is to look in the mirror. Are you creating a team environment where accountability will flourish?
Patrick Lencioni, author of The Advantage, has defined four disciplines to help build healthy teams. We turned these into four key questions that you should ask yourself as you examine the level of accountability in your organization. If you can say “YES” to each, you will be driving accountability:
1. Have you built a cohesive leadership team?
To create an environment inside your company that will foster accountability, you must start at the top – by assembling a healthy leadership team. That is, a team with a high level of trust and mutual respect, a team that lives by a set a well-defined core values and that is comfortable with healthy conflict. A team with those qualities is passionate about addressing the truly tough issues facing the business and resolving them. Team members believe in using data to drive their decisions, and they focus on team results more than individual accomplishments.
2. Are you creating clarity?
Have you answered these questions with your leadership team?
- Why does our company exist?
- How should we behave with each other, our customers and our vendors?
- What is our core focus?
- What does good performance look like? How will we succeed?
- What is most important to do, right now?
- Who must do what?
3. Are you overcommunicating clarity?
About the time you feel your answers to those questions have been well communicated, your team is just beginning to hear you. It is essential that you define consistent answers to those questions and that you never stop asking and answering them. In Lencioni’s words, you must be your own “Chief Reminding Officer”.
4. Are you reinforcing clarity?
You will reinforce your clear messages if you recruit, hire, orient, evaluate, compensate and reward your team members around the core values you have defined, and constantly discuss the answers to the questions listed above.
If you want to answer “YES” to these questions, contact Trilogy’s Alliance Partner Rip Tilden at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (609) 688-0428. We have tackled the issue of accountability with many clients and as one noted, “Trilogy has helped our firm build a culture based on truth, knowledge, constructive debate, a passion to win, and the courage to face and fix mistakes.”