Accountability is a word that’s thrown around in business. Often associated with a single person — “Who’s accountable for this?”. “I hold you accountable…”
Yes, individuals are accountable, however, real accountability is the essence of getting the right things done. Getting the right things done requires more than 1 individual.
Accountability is the consistent delivery on promises and commitments. At work, those promises and commitments are made to/from other people, bosses, co-workers, customers or suppliers.
So there are at least two people involved in any form of work accountability — a requestor and a deliverer.
In my workshops, I often use the analogy of a relay race.
In a relay race each person may run their own race, however, the success of the team depends on the crucial handovers at each stage of the race.
Anyone who has trained in / run relay races knows that more practice goes into the baton handovers than any other part of the race.
As with accountability, at least two parties must agree on what accountability looks like:
If you think back to any situation where something that should have been done and wasn’t it is likely that one of the above didn’t happen:
Accountability is taken when the agreement is reached and this means that successful completion is more likely.
Also, good accountability is brain-friendly:
Taking and consistently delivering on promises and commitments is a key element of building trustworthiness — answering the “can I count on you?” question.
Accountability is a critical behaviour which directly contributes to successful business outcomes.
Accountability is something that is created between people and that is what makes it a powerful tool. Who would would not want to be able to say
“You can count on me.”
Originally published at medium.com