Accountable organizations are unique creatures; standing out from others because of their superior performance, greater employee loyalty, and higher customer satisfaction. Although the rewards are great, many companies will not embark on the journey to accountability because attaining and maintaining high levels of organizational accountability is extremely difficult.
Organizational accountability exists when all members of the workforce individually and collectively act to consequentially promote the timely accomplishment of the organization’s mission. Examined more closely, this means that:
- all members of the workforce: Includes executives, managers, and individual contributors. Executives and managers are responsible for holding their subordinates accountable for the effective and efficient conduct of activities supporting mission achievement. Subordinates, through their actions, set an example by which positive pressure is applied to their peers and seniors for greater accountability.
- individually act: Enough individuals throughout the organization must act accountably in order to achieve the critical mass necessary for the existence of an accountable organization. Some individuals, such as the chief executive officer, must exhibit and reinforce accountable behaviors for the organization to be truly accountable.
- collectively act: Often, groups of executives, managers, or individual contributors make and execute the organization’s decisions. Under these circumstances, it is critical that the group act in accordance with the organization’s values to accomplish its mission and avoid easy outs and the tendency to fall into a mode of group think.
- consequentially promote: Accountability cannot exist without both positive and negative consequences. To consequentially promote the organization’s mission implies that individuals and groups will not only act in ways that seek to accomplish the mission but will recognize and reward those who do so exceptionally and appropriately act to minimize behaviors less supportive of the organization’s goals.
- timely accomplishment of the organization’s mission: For accountability to exist, one must know what is to be accomplished and within what time frame. No one can be accountable for accomplishing an undetermined goal for there is no basis against which to measure their accomplishments. Likewise, a goal that is not bound by time can never be considered to be incomplete or have insufficient progress because the individual or group working toward such a goal has an infinite amount of time to reach it.
The StrategyDriven Organizational Accountability Forum focuses on the key attributes of accountable organizations and why many executives and managers intentionally or unconsciously avoid raising their organization’s accountability. We identify the programs, processes, and actions that can be taken to help promote increased accountability. We also examine the many benefits that accompany higher levels of organizational accountability and why accountable organizations realize them while others don’t. The following articles, podcasts, documents, and resources cover those topics critical to establishing a highly accountable organizational culture. Subscribing to this forum provides access to its principles, best practices, and warning flags articles and associated documents.