Drive Accountability for Success

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As companies get larger, and people work on diverse projects remotely, the need to hold people accountable is increasing. The old system of annual reviews, which gets lip-service, but provides little meaningful feedback for growth and only has consequences when things go seriously wrong, is being  “fired” at employee-centric companies. They need to have individuals working in-sync to achieve the corporate mission and goals. In the Accountable for Success (A4S) model, the fundamental building blocks are to:  generate individual and team peak performance, gain alignment with culture and strategy, and upgrade leadership capabilities. This happens with two key elements

  • Ongoing communication between the dyadic unit: manager and worker
  • A review calendar system that facilitates continuous learning for employee advancement in the existing job and all future ones.

As we work with companies to implement A4S, we learn about related tools that can help. For instance, most managers are not training to be excellent at giving feedback and coaching others. (As a result they turn to micro-managements!) New programs help managers upgrade their skills at delivering valuable feedback and using coaching principles such as catalytic coaching. (For more information, contact us.)
Brent Gleeson, in TakingPoint, addresses this issue in his Six Fundamental Leadership Accountability Skills

  • Results-driven Messaging –Accountability starts with providing crystal clear expectations of the results to be achieved. The expectations have to be measurable (e.g., monthly financial report for the prior month, with no errors, is due the third working day of each month). Objective metrics are also needed to evaluate success. (e.g., on a 1-10 scale, delivery by deadline gets a top score with lower numbers set for missing the target).
  • Courage to take Ownership – The leader (supervisor) is responsible for making sure that the worker truly understands what is expected of the worker/team. Only then can the worker/team’s missed performances be assessed and correct by both parties through additional training, etc. 
  • Clear Direction –People can only be held accountable if targets and processes are clear and aligned with one another; no conflicting priorities are permitted
  • Training for Skills – Companies that use the A4S model are Continued Improvement Learning Organizations (CILOs), committed to training people in the new skills they will take to better perform their current job and move to new ones. The ultimate success is instilling in each worker the desire to learn even more.
  • Willingness to Change – A core value for each person in a CILO is a willingness (even desire) to change. As individuals grow, new challenges and boundaries are necessary to keep them engaged.
  • Respectful Conflict Resolution – Fundamental to a success is trust among its members. Therefore, the leader needs to help workers and teams resolve conflicts with respect. 

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This quote is credited to both Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker, two people known for their word of wisdom and lessons to live by. The next best thing is knowing how to navigate it, especially in a world that’s described as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) and market gyrations of close to 1000 points.

To anticipate and creatively respond to the changes, you might find Robert Tucker’s“13 Guidelines for Navigating the New Decade Ahead” very useful. Here are some of them:

1. Create your own early warning system. “Managing the future”combines the tools of technology scouting, forward thinking, competitive intelligence, strategic thinking, and scenario planning.

2. Think like a futurist. Systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present. Include the driving forces of change and mega-trends: workplace, demographic, social, regulatory, environmental, geopolitical and technological. 

3. Audit your information diet. Read voraciously and widely, and audit your information intake periodically. Move from passively “getting informed” to actively “being informed. By looking at what’s new, what’s incongruous, and what’s intriguing to you.

4. Connect the dots. Make connections between information that requires that you to adopt an open mind as you consume information. Challenge your own assumptions about where emerging trends are headed, and on how you and your organization might best respond. Don’t be blindsided!

5. Turn emerging trends into new solutions.  Innovation means seizing the opportunities, taking calculated risks, and translating hindsight, insight and foresight into strategic action. 

6. Practice getting better at predicting.  Demographic, automation and AI, and job flexibility trends can be predicted. By 2035, there will be 78 million people over the age of 65 years vs. 76 million under the age of 18. As more people live past 90, fewer will “retire from work” at age 55-65, preferring a new life-balance for their 70-80 years of adult life. 

Now is the time to disrupt yourself. Challenge your personal value proposition. Learn to navigate the future so you always will be relevant. Take charge by getting information, inspiration and support. Join the community to navigate your life as you and your children age in a future quite different from that of our parents.