How to Build a Strong Culture of Responsibility

How to Build a Strong Culture of Responsibility
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A Strong Culture of Responsibility Matters
Our organizational alignment research found a strong culture of responsibility accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing organizations. If you desire a healthy, strong culture of responsibility, leaders need to cascade accountability throughout the organization.

Weak Responsibility
Without a strong culture of responsibility, leaders risk a culture where:

  • people do not consistently do what they say they will do
  • one team member cannot depend upon another
  • targets are not reached
  • constructive debate shrinks

What kind of organization can survive or thrive under these circumstances?

The Components of a Strong Culture of Responsibility
Yes, weaving accountability into the basic fabric of your culture takes leadership and persistence, but the alternative is bleak. In addition to assessing your current organizational culture to see where you stand, here’s what you need to do to achieve a strong culture of responsibility, why it matters, and what it looks like.

  1. Compelling Mission
    The organization has a clear fundamental purpose to exist as a business that employees understand, believe in, and fully commit to achieving.  In terms of engagement and performance, the more meaningful the company’s purpose, the better.
  2. Open Book
    Leaders transparently share what they know, what they do not know, and how they make decisions. Employees are not left out of the process. Employees are actively involved, can ask questions, offer ideas, and candidly discuss issues.  This ensures employees feel valued and committed to the company’s mission.
  3. 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 line of sight of how they will contribute and of what success will look like at the individual, team, and organizational levels.

    Strategic clarity drives consistent implementation and aligned decision-making 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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 performance management fundamentals and how to guide their behaviors toward ever higher performance.

    If people are not following through on a task or a promise, invest the time to uncover the root cause and work with them to create a realistic plan to get back on track.

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 high performing organizations.

To learn more about how to build a strong culture of responsibility, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture You Need to Get Right as a Leader

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