Updated: Apr 12
Does the day-to-day busyness of business prevent you from delivering on promises you make to yourself, your colleagues or your customers?
Do you struggle to effectively prioritise and plan your tasks, or to stick to the plan to see it through to the successful completion of your goal?
Accountability lies at the core of successful execution, yet a lack of accountability is one of the most common issues we hear of when speaking with businesses. Accountability is the requirement to be responsible for, and to able to justify, your actions and decisions. In its simplest form, it is a case of doing what you said you would do. This starts with leadership and should spread throughout an organisation, so that all employees are accountable for their actions and decisions.
Being able to develop the habit of doing what you said you would do builds confidence within yourself and credibility with others that you will get things done. Being able to prioritise and deliver tasks that create the most value, on time and to the required standard, will help to make you a trusted leader, team member and partner.
In making your decisions, it is important to be guided by the mission, vision and values of your team and organisation; if your decisions are in line with these, you should easily be able to justify why you did what you have done. Having prioritised your tasks and made your decision on what to do, what else do you need in order to be accountable?
The 6Cs of Accountability©
Clarity – ensure you are clear on your role, the intended outcome, how you will get there and how success is measured.
Capacity – ensure you have the capacity, i.e. time, to deliver the successful outcome by focusing on the key tasks. You should also have the required skills capacity, e.g. correct number of qualified people, and equipment capacity to achieve the intended outcome.
Commitment – ensure you are committed to producing a successful outcome. This is more likely if you passionately believe in the purpose you are intending to deliver.
Congruence – a leader must provide the congruence in bringing everyone together in support of your shared mission, vision and values. A great leader should be seen to lead by the example they want others to follow, as well as showing a constant desire to learn and improve. This will be more powerful if you find alignment between your personal values and those of your team/organisation.
Courage – ensure you have the courage to complete the task successfully, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone; this includes having the courage to bounce back from any setbacks. If you are lacking in courage, where can you borrow it from, e.g. inspirational ‘heroes’, teammates, etc.?
Competence – ensure you are capable of performing the task(s) to achieve the desired outcome(s).
These requirements also apply if you are delegating a task to someone. Do they have the Clarity, Capacity, Commitment, Congruence, Courage and Competence to deliver the outcome on time and to the required standard? If not, where are the gaps and what steps will you need to take to fill them?
If you have built these qualities in someone, you are guiding them towards making the right decisions and taking the actions required to successfully follow those decisions through.
In order to empower people, it is important to allow them the space to explore, to work out the impact of their decisions and to learn for themselves, without the fear of being criticised if they make a mistake. If they fall down, you can then provide support to help them recover. However, for them to be empowered they must be accountable for their actions, which means you must ensure they have The 6Cs of Accountability© before they can be expected to achieve the desired outcome.
When working as a team, it is also important that:
One person holds overall accountability. It is possible to have multiple people with responsibilities in any given project, but only one person should ultimately be accountable for the overall task.
The person needs to know they are accountable.
They also need a clear level of authority to know the scope and limits of what they can make decisions on.
Accountability is a core element of the programmes we deliver, and an Accountability Mindset is one of the five key mindsets in our Performance Teaming programme. We use an accountability framework which will enable you to plan, track and reflect on your tasks. This includes risk management, enables tasks to be delivered on time, aids recovery if you hit an impediment, and allows you to learn from the experience so you keep improving.
If you struggle with accountability, join us in our Performance Teaming Foundations programme and turn your team into a trusted partner that delivers to itself and its customers.
You can also sign up, as an individual or team, for our Accountability Excellence programmes. Let us help you increase your focus, improve your credibility, deliver on your promises and achieve your goals. Find out more here.
The 6Cs of Accountability© is a proprietary framework that is ©The Performance Learning Company (our partners in delivering the Performance Teaming programme).