How To Have A Highly Accountable Environment

By Greg Niemi . June 12, 2013

You know how some people always seem to have an excuse for not getting things done.  Those who blame their problems on something, or someone, else? 

So how do you have an environment of high performance and accountability (without having to be heavy handed)?  It is easy, it really is. Finger Pointer

First, it begins with hiring.  Hire achievers who have a demonstrated track record of achievement.  Achievers are naturally prone to accountability.  In the second interview get down to the brass tasks and ask the candidate by what measures their role should be held accountable.  The stage is now set for accountability. 

Second, have high expectations and believe in your people.  Achievers will set a higher bar and the more they achieve the greater gain for the individual and the organization (aka win / win).  It is far better to bet on your people versus against them.  It is also easier for you to lower the bar later then it is to raise. 

Third, put good goal setting processes in place.  In addition to developing company plans your people should be developing “their” individual personal operating plans complete with KPI’s by year and quarter to align with the company’s goals and vice versa.  These plans should all be tied together.    

Fourth, have employees report quarterly and monthly on “their” progress compared to “their” plan.  Have them report publically in front of their teammates.  Make this reporting as safe of an environment as possible.  

Fifth, is measure and monitor – the wisdom of “what gets measured gets managed.”  Measurements should be no less than quarterly and monthly.  Live measurements, as data regularly changes, is even more preferred.  I like conspicuous scoreboards to be posted and updated beside work areas.   

Sixth, nurture and performance manage.  Employees should meet with their managing supervisor each week for updates and one-to-one coaching (with constructive feedback – both +/-).  And, annual performance reviews should always be done on, or ahead, of time.  Being late sends a poor message. 

With the right people and the right processes in place “the system”, and the people themselves, become the heavy.  It becomes the norm for how we operate around here.  It will weed out those who are uncomfortable with accountability.  

Important footnote:  All the above begins with the business leader.  Do you, as the business leader, have an individual operating plan, complete with goals and KPI’s, which you report upon monthly, quarterly and annually?  You are not exempt.  

The best person to hold a person accountable is the person themself.  Hire achievers, have high expectations and performance manage along the way.  


© 2013 NIEMI TRUST, LLC – All rights reserved.

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