How to create a culture of Accountability

How to create a culture of accountability

Many of the company leaders we work with want to increase the level of accountability in their organizations.

This is a smart decision because having a culture of accountability delivers a number of business benefits including increased speed and productivity, higher employee engagement, more innovation, and a more enjoyable workplace for everyone.

If you want a long-lasting impact, accountability begins with your culture.

The first thing you need to recognize is that accountability starts at the top.

Accountability starts at the top

You can’t teach accountability to the folks that are already the most accountable in the organization when their supervisor, their boss, their leader, or the owner of the company isn’t accountable.

If the boss doesn’t show up to meetings on time, doesn’t reply to emails, or doesn’t deliver on promises they make – it destroys trust.

Right now we are seeing a lot of this:

This gentleman, leaving his office with his personal items in his box, is part of what is being called the “great resignation” – and for those who aren’t leaving the building, it’s something called “quiet quitting.”

A recent Gallup survey discovered that 50% of the US workforce is comprised of “Quiet Quitters”

Quiet quitting is defined as “not going above and beyond at work, just meeting their job description.” It’s a signal of a lack of employee commitment and engagement. While they might still be showing up for work, they’re not actively engaged.

Whether physically or just mentally, these employees aren’t leaving their jobs. They’re leaving their boss or their leader or the owner of the company.

One of the best ways to reverse this trend is through better leadership and by developing a culture of excellence that is steeped in trust and accountability.

Here’s how to do that.

Create trust and accountability with these structures and behaviors

Accountability builds trust through consistency and reliability.

You can improve consistency and reliability through a combination of structure and behavior.

Structures that create accountability

Structures are clearly defined systems and processes for communication, alignment, and forward progress towards strategic intents. These include:

  • Defined roles with clear decision ownership and transparent goals
  • Coordinated meeting schedules that are aligned with the management system
  • Communication systems for escalating and cascading information
  • Effective meetings with agendas and stated outcomes

Accountability creates trust, consistency, reliability

You’ll notice that there is an emphasis on “meetings” here. If you feel like you’re having a lot of meetings that are simply a “waste of time” – then you’re not doing them right!

Your meetings should be enjoyable, purposeful, and focused on moving forward.

Behaviors that create accountability

The other half of the accountability equation is behavior. In essence, it’s a company-wide commitment to “do what we say we’ll do.”

Specifically, it means:

  • Hiring for character
  • Making clear requests with clear timeframes
  • Letting people know if you are going to miss your commitment and re-committing
  • Making it known when someone doesn’t deliver by escalating the issue responsibly

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important that these behaviors are modeled from the top.

Developing a culture of trust and accountability can take time, but it’s worth it!

There are many benefits, including:

  • Increased speed and productivity
  • Happier, more engaged employees (no more “quiet quitting”)
  • Better customer service, increased sales, more innovation
  • Faster problem-solving
  • A more enjoyable workplace for everyone

If you’d like some assistance installing a culture of trust and accountability in your business, book a call with one of our advisors, we’d be happy to help!

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