Tips To Avoid Finger Pointing By Using Accountability Techniques

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On October 25, 2019

Accountability by a business coachUse Accountability To Avoid Finger Pointing

When you’re involved in a growing company that’s scaling up and headed to new levels of business, it’s pretty heady stuff. As you’re scaling and exploring new ways of doing business, it’s easy to get people excited and involved. Everybody wants to lend a hand. But what happens when something goes wrong?  The hands ball into fists and the fingers start pointing. That’s why a lack of accountability leads to conflict when scaling up.

The Importance of Clear Responsibility

Most employees can tell you what their job description says. But that’s not the same thing as clearly understanding their areas of responsibility. Their tasks need to be clearly delineated. What are the acceptable (and measurable) results? Exactly when are they expected to complete their tasks? They also need to know what resources they will have at their disposal to accomplish their work. But this needs to involve more than a briefing. There should be a regular accounting for these responsibilities. This doesn’t have to be a heavy-handed reckoning, but leadership is responsible to help them understand if they are accomplishing their goals or not. This accounting for performance helps management evaluate whether the determined goals are realistic. If an individual (or a group) continually misses set goals, it could mean that there are unrealistic expectations. But there is another reason for tracking performance. Employees don’t work in a vacuum.

Understanding How Performance Affects Others

You’ve probably heard of “silo mentality” within companies. It’s where each individual department is only concerned about what happens within their own area of expertise. As a leader, each area of the company must be aware of how their actions, attitudes, and performance affects the ability of others to do their job. It’s why successful companies such as Volvo rotated employees through different aspects of the manufacturing process. It helped employees see that what they did (and how they did it) affected other employees.

Problem Solving Instead of Assigning Blame

True accountability in companies is not about playing the blame game. The intent isn’t to identify and isolate individuals. It’s about identifying problems in the process and fixing them. Sometimes there may be unrealistic expectations. Other times you may find that you have the wrong person in the wrong place. The goal of accountability, however, isn’t to punish—it’s to improve. But the only way you’ll identify the problems is with regular review of clearly identified responsibilities.

Excellent Execution is Essential

Ultimately it comes down to how you execute your strategies and your plans. Good strategies are important for your company. Solid plans to carry out your strategies are a must. But as they say, “The devil is in the details.” You have to execute your plans with excellence. Part of that involves having regular evaluations of how you are performing. Again, it’s not about assigning blame if metrics are missed. It’s about evaluating performance and finding ways to improve.

If you’re interested in seeing how your company is doing in terms of execution, I’d encourage you to click on the Execution Assessment button below. This quick (2 minute) evaluation will give you an idea about areas you need to work on. It can serve as a barometer for how well your employees understand their responsibilities—and whether or not you have the metrics in place to evaluate them.

accountability execution