The steps to accountability are: See it. Own it. Solve it. Do it.
In Propeller: Accelerating Change by Getting Accountability Right, authors Tom Smith, Craig Hickman, Jared Jones, and Tanner Corbridge, introduce how to build a culture of accountability by sharing what is above the line and below the line behavior is.
Each step has its nuances starting with the correct mindset to get yourself and your team accountable.
Acknowledging Below the Line behavior and facing up to the reality of a situation should be rewarded, not punished. Accountability isn’t a hammer for punishing people who have failed; it’s an engine that propels people toward greater personal growth and better results. As humans, we are naturally flawed. Ignoring our flaws gets us nowhere; acknowledging them helps us more clearly see our situation and the path toward better results.
To fully See It you must be hungry for perspectives you don’t already have; you must be able to face reality, and you must be willing to acknowledge you don’t have all the answers. Without curiosity, courage, and humility you will be severely limited in your ability to See It. It takes real effort to look past your own limited perspective to see what others are seeing.
The authors note, See It, is the hardest step in Above the Line behavior.
When you See It, Say It.
Acknowledging the reality of a situation, especially an unpleasant, upsetting, or unfair one, never comes easily. See It requires a level of humility novice and experienced leaders frequently lose during their advance to positions of power in the organization, it can be a serious obstacle to any leader’s continued effectiveness.
Too often leaders think they should be the ones to provide all the answers. The most effective leaders create space for others to fill. They see things more clearly. They reach out and seek the perspectives of others. They are curious and reflect a sincere desire to see what others see. They see how other perspectives and recognize their ability to fully grasp what’s going on.
Ineffective leaders take up all the space. They already have all the answers. Their perspective is the only one that counts. Their mindset keeps them from obtaining needed information and prevents them from acknowledging the reality of any given situation—they just won’t See It.
No one sees everything perfectly. You get a lot closer to seeing things as they really are by connecting with and obtaining the perspectives of others. To achieve this, you must be open to the possibility you may not see some important aspects of your organization’s reality.
Four See It principles change what needs changing:
- Park Your Ego at the Door to Improve Your Vision. If you want to increase workforce engagement, ensure everyone knows you hear their voices. It takes real effort to look past your own limited perspective to see what others are seeing. If you want to increase workforce engagement, ensure everyone knows you hear their voices.
- Welcome Difficult Conversations to Make Them Contagious. Organizations that insist on frequent difficult conversations create the highest levels of accountability. Organizations that insist on frequent difficult conversations create the highest levels of accountability.
- Embrace the Feedback You Receive to Accelerate Your Ability to Change. It takes patience, persistence, and courage to ask for and listen to the hard truths. It takes patience, persistence, and courage to ask for and listen to the hard truths.
- Link What You See to Key Results to Keep You on the Path to Achieving Them. If it doesn’t link to a Key Result, it’s not a top priority.
If you find yourself disappointed when no one sees the issues and problems in your business, you must confront the truth. It’s your responsibility. When people don’t See It, Say It, it’s because your culture is focused on punishment. You're not rewarding them for seeing issues and reporting them.
One CEO in the book with low accountability established one of this company’s most vital cultural beliefs to be, “Be Bold: I respectfully speak up and share ideas without fear.” It successfully transformed his company from a place where fearful people kept their eyes closed and their mouths shut to one where everyone strove to see and talk about any issue that impeded the company’s ability to achieve better results.
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NEXT BLOG – Getting Buy-In, the Four Levels of Ownership – OWN IT
Once you See It—the reality of your own, your team’s, your organization’s situation—you may be tempted to not do much to fix it. particularly if you think someone or something else will fix it for you. Total Ownership requires agreement and involvement concerning Key Results. Next blog the Four Levels of Ownership.