Friday, October 14, 2011

Accountability (my favourite article/post to date)

Many people never really think about the word, "Accountability", or it's true meaning.

It's a shame really. Because without it, "Integrity" doesn't really exist within oneself. Would you agree?

Let's look at both definitions for a moment...

ac·count·a·bil·i·ty   /əˌkaʊntəˈbɪlɪti/ Show Spelled[uh-koun-tuh-bil-i-tee] Show IPA
1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.
2. Education . a policy of holding schools and teachers accountable for students' academic progress by linking such progress with funding for salaries, maintenance, etc.

1785–95; account(able) + -ability


in·teg·ri·ty   /ɪnˈtɛgrɪti/ Show Spelled[in-teg-ri-tee] Show IPA
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished

1400–50; late Middle English integrite < Latin integritās. See integer, -ity


They really are inter-connected. Without Accountability, you have no Integrity & you only have Integrity if you have Accountability.

Moving on to today's post, I found an incredible article on Accountability. It's very "corporate" & "sales" driven, so I changed a few words here and there to equate it on a "generic" level - if that makes sense...

Accountability Brings Success

Help your team perform at its best with an accountability system

Brian S. Wallace, senior vice president, director of training, HSBC Mortgage

Does the word "accountability" send chills down your spine? Does the thought of someone asking you if you did what you said you would do make your blood boil?

If you are like most people, the word accountability is somewhat intimidating.

Webster's Dictionary defines accountability as "an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions." Accepting responsibility? Being willing and obligated? These are all tough words to read, let alone to put into action. To do it, however, you must develop an ironclad accountability system.

Essentially, an accountability system is a list of tasks that must be performed at each level of the organization. From a new partner straight to the leader, each level builds to the next level. As it builds, each level receives the information needed to make key business decisions.

This system allows you to develop your partners into next-generation leaders. People are already familiar with the data they provide to their current leaders. They can be trained in its interpretation for the reporting needed at the next level.

From the top down

An accountability system must start at the top. Leaders must buy into a system and must be able to show how effective it is once implemented. This is a chief example of how management must walk the talk. Effective demonstration of an accountability plan is the only way to sell it to partners. If people see that leaders are accountable to the system, they will be more willing to comply with the accountability tasks assigned to them.

Although leaders must set an example, every partner is the true hero of an accountability system. They are the ones who hold the team accountable for its daily activities and reports.

Leaders must ensure that all partners buy into the system. They also must receive ample training and support to ensure a successful implementation. These leaders often view implementing this type of system as additional work. On the contrary, it will actually help reduce their workload and structure their day-to-day activities.

The true winners of an accountability system are members of the team. Often, new people in our industry struggle with what to do on a daily basis. They ask, "What should I be doing today?" or "My leader is a producing leader and doesn't have time to work with me on a game plan."

These questions are quickly resolved with an effective accountability plan. Your leaders can lead more effectively, and your partners have a map of where to go and what to do to become successful in the chosen business.

With an accountability system, people will no longer feel a sense of frustration and lack of direction in their daily routine. This system allows for crystal-clear responsibilities that get the job done efficiently and accurately. A good system will structure their days and make their time more productive, which allows them to focus on the tasks needed to be successful.

The most exciting thing about an initiative like this is watching the company's culture change. You will, in essence, have affected change in your partners.

How it works

Here is one example of where accountability can be effective: Many of us intend to do yearly business plans or to create development plans for ourselves or for our team. As we roll into the year, we set aside time in our calendars to work on these plans. When that time comes, all too often, a more critical task falls into our lap, and we delay the planning process. This continues for several weeks or months. All of a sudden, the year is almost over, and we still have not completed our planning for the year.

With an accountability system, you simply need to meet with your leader to review your plans for the year. You will have a due date for delivery of the plan and an accountability relationship with your leader.

It is essential that leaders do not cancel or reschedule this meeting. Holding key accountability dates like this can help create an environment of accountability in your company's culture.

Accountability also works on a smaller scale. You can use partners or friends to help you be accountable in your daily tasks without the added stress of a deliverable to your leader. For instance, tell a partner you will call a tough client this week. Then ask your partner to follow up with you at the end of the week to see if you have made that call.

There is a much greater chance that you will make that call if you tell someone that you will. As such, odds are certainly in your favor if your company has an effective accountability system in place.

By properly leveraging these relationships, whether they are with your peers or with your leaders, you can put the law of accountability to work in a positive way for your career.

* * *
Accountability can be a popular word in your organization. All it takes is some time and a structured plan. If you line up the proper expectations, time lines, people and resources, you will see your business grow to new heights once thought unattainable.

WOW - I think this is my favourite article/post...

Here's hoping you think so too...


1 comment:

  1. I just read and re-read all of your blogs this week!! I really feel this was a fantastic display of leadership - you picked amazing relatable topics and kept them generic enough to apply to various areas of our lives. Thank you so much for sharing & for spending time finding/writing these blogs. You rock the casbah!!! Xxx
    ~ Michelle Christine