How to Build a Strong Culture of Accountability

a man lifting weights to show how one can build a Strong Culture of Accountability

A Strong Culture of Accountability Matters
If you desire a healthy, strong culture of accountability (and who doesn’t), leaders need to cascade accountability throughout your organization.

Without accountability, you risk a culture where people do not consistently do what they say they will do.  One team member cannot depend upon another. Targets are ignored and goals are not reached.

What kind of organization can survive under these circumstances?

The Components of a Strong Culture of Accountability
Yes, weaving accountability into the basic fabric of your culture takes leadership and persistence, but the alternative is bleak. Here’s what you need to do to achieve a strong culture of accountability, why it matters and what it looks like.

  • Compelling Mission
    The organization has a clear fundamental purpose that employees understand, accept and fully commit to achieving.
  • Open Book
    Leaders share what they know, what they do not know and how they make decisions. Employees are not left out of the process. They are actively involved, can ask questions, offer ideas and candidly discuss issues. This ensures employees feel valued and involved in the company’s mission.
  • Clear Strategy
    The strategic plans for both the near and long term future should be well-known throughout the organization…from top to bottom. Each employee should have a clear sense of how they will contribute and of what success will look like.This strategic clarity is what will drive consistent implementation throughout the organization. Each team and department will have their own goals that derive from the overall strategy and will be held accountable for monitoring and reaching those goals.
  • Clear Expectations
    Each worker should have a clear understanding of the values and behaviors the organization expects. If, for instance, the company believes that the customer comes first, employees should focus on customer needs and, within the purview of their job, feel empowered to do what they can to meet and exceed client expectations.
  • Performance Management
    At the individual level, each employee will have their own development plan and their own “score card” for how well they are performing. The individual success metrics should align with the key performance indicators of their specific role and responsibilities.Managers should be well schooled on how to coach their team members and guide their behaviors toward ever higher performance.

The Bottom Line
Sounds like a lot of work, right? Ah, but what we have learned is that this kind of structure and process is what define best-in-class organizations.

Our organizational alignment research at 410 companies across 8 industries found that this kind of accountability-based culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing organizations. It matters.

To learn more about how to build a strong culture of accountability, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture

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