Happy Halloween! It’s one of my favorite holidays! It reminds me of the responsibility parents face to ensure their children are safe and that in the face of receiving a deluge of candy they don’t get sick or over indulge in the very incentive the Halloween Holiday presents.
As managers and leaders we have the same accountability and responsibility with our leadership and reporting teams.
According to author Patrick Lencioni the Biggest Issue Facing Business is Accountability. How do you keep your team accountable for the responsibilities and accountabilities they commit to? How do we make sure assigned tasks are completed by a certain deadline? What type of tool or technology do you have in place to monitor and ensure they are completing the tasks they are assigned? Finally how do you discipline them when they fail to meet their assigned accountabilities?
If you have something in place that is already working, congratulations! If not please consider the simple Excel Spreadsheet that Positioning Systems uses with our clients as part of Strategic Discipline and specifically the weekly meeting rhythms. As part of a weekly meeting agenda, each week we review this accountabilities worksheet to ensure progress is being made and no one is dismissing their responsibilities. One of my clients has developed an expanded version of this worksheet where each leadership member has their own list of accountabilities. We concentrate on the most immediate dates for completion first. In reviewing these weekly they have the opportunity to report on their progress. Additionally it reminds them of tasks or responsibilities which may be coming up that they will need to prepare and complete.
It’s hard enough keeping track of your personal responsibilities, wouldn’t be nice to have a tool that tracks your teams accountabilities? Best of all it removes these from having to be in your head. Another advantage of this tool, when conducted in the weekly meeting, it takes advantage of the peer pressure of the group. No one wants to be seen as failing to meet their obligations.
For those of you wondering why group meetings is the best way to get better performance, please review the following blogs which describe why this works best as described by Patrick Lencioni in The Advantage:
- Lack of Accountability Show the Group or Behind Closed Doors?
- Accountability - Three Reasons Group Meetings Produce Better,
- Which is Best Individual Meetings or Team Meetings? Personal Story on Accountability
The tool we provide is called are Who, What, When Accountability Tool and if you’d like a copy of it please email me with this description in the subject line. When someone accepts or is given a responsibility you put their name in the WHO column followed by a short description of what it is they are accountable for (WHAT). Then you place in the WHEN column the date it is due. Occasionally the scope of work is expanding requiring an additional date. We suggest you use the insert comment tool in Excel to identify changes that require extending the date. Finally there is a checkbox to indicate that the accountability has been completed.
If you have not followed the weekly meeting agenda that we suggest in the Rockefeller Habits and Strategic Discipline pattern you’ll need to begin establishing this or decide on a time each week to review your teams accountabilities or this tool will not offer the help it can.
Gaining forward momentum is all about alignment.
When your people are following through on their assignments and responsibilities you’ll feel that sense of forward momentum required to achieve success in your department and organization. Furthermore getting to check off completed assignments on the Accountability Spreadsheet gives your people a feeling of completion and recognition.
We’ve discussed moving to a Demand Based Economy in previous blogs. The idea of having someone in your company designated in the position of Customer Advocacy has been explored before. Next blog we’ll discuss why this position needs to be separated from sales & marketing as well as the operations of your business, and why this position is even more critical today than it’s been in the past.