In today’s business world, being a personally accountable organization is more valuable than ever before. The average consumer has his hands full just trying to pay the mortgage. Often, consumers complain that they have no confidence in the government, in banking, or in big business because these industries lack personal accountability. Where personal accountability is maximized, consumer confidence is increased. This increase in consumer confidence leads to the result every business is seeking to obtain; a healthy profit. Show a person that a business takes responsibility for its actions and decisions, and that person begins to trust.
Locate the Personal Accountability in Your Business
In any business, the people working on the bottom level tend to have the most visible accountability system. This is standard practice because the newest employees often need the most oversight. Moving up in the chain of command, that visible system of accountability seems to disappear. This lack of visible accountability is the reason that mistakes go unnoticed until a corporate catastrophe occurs. Looking at those at the very top of their business, it is easy to see that success can be measured in personal accountability.
The fear of admitting to a mistake or facing the consequences of a poor decision does not influence someone who understands personal accountability.
Leading by Example – Do as I Do
Leading the business by example is the first step in incorporating personal responsibility as a visible management technique. A CEO who takes the time to admit mistakes and who strives constantly to better himself/herself is the person who leads effectively. A CEO who does not “pass the buck” to management when a complaint comes in is the leader that gains loyalty from both customers and employees.
Creating the Consequences
Creating consequences for those who lack personal accountability is crucial. A negative consequence, especially a consequence for refusing to accept responsibility for inappropriate actions, is an excellent starting point for growth. A warning letter or a quick meeting can be just the catalyst that a person requires to steer them toward self-improvement. Each member of the organization who is pushed to improve is a member who benefits the whole.
Rewarding Excellence in Personal Accountability
Rewarding personal accountability is another excellent step in creating a visible system. A mistake does need to have a consequence, but reminding management to reward those extra efforts is also essential. When an employee takes personal responsibility for their portion of the workload, they become invested in the business. Personal accountability has to have benefits in order to become an accepted behavior in the corporation. Rewards can be small; a quick “thank you” or a pat on the back can reinforce the behavior of personal accountability.
Reaping the Benefits of Personal Accountability
Implementing a visible system of personal accountability eliminates those who are unable to see themselves as an integral part of the team. The system allows management to weed out those who cover mistakes or pass the blame since both of these practices decrease morale. Rewarding employees who shoulder responsibility, lead by example and express loyalty, all blends together to create an organization that is personally accountable, from the top to the bottom.
~ Written by Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates, LLC.
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