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Accountability in your organization: Glue or Teflon?

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Accountability in your organization: Glue or Teflon?

Seven Ways to Make Sure Accountability Sticks in 2014.

As a leader at your organization, you like to think that you run a pretty tight ship. But if you’re being honest with yourself, you know that you let a few things slide in 2013. A missed deadline here and there. A few tiny white lies to clients. The fact that Mike in marketing often over-commits and under-delivers. Your own tendency to talk over others in meetings.

In other words, people (you included) haven’t always done what they know they’re supposed to do or behaved like they know they’re supposed to behave—and they’ve gotten away with it.

None of these transgressions have been deal-breakers. Yet you know if you don’t start holding yourself and your employees accountable for these little things, they’ll eventually lead to bigger, more damaging sins. That’s why, according to Julie Miller and Brian Bedford, one of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make is around the A-word. Accountability.

“Accountability is a tricky business because it has different meanings for different people.”

“Accountability is a tricky business because it has different meanings for different people,” says Miller, coauthor along with Bedford of Culture Without Accountability—WTF? What’s the Fix? (Criffel Publishing). “In our book, we present a definition we learned that we like very much: ‘a personal willingness, after the fact, to answer for the results of your behaviors and actions.’”

“With that in mind, think about where you and your people dropped the ball in 2013 in terms of client relations, personal integrity, and interactions with coworkers,” adds Bedford. “More important, did any of you answer for these lapses? You can post core values on the company website and remind your employees about them via the company newsletter until you’re blue in the face. But if none of you are ever held accountable to these behaviors, you’ll just repeat 2013’s transgressions over and over again.

“Of course, you might be thinking, ‘We’ve tried making accountability stick before, and all those initiatives just melted away over time. That’s what will happen this time.’ You can’t create an accountable organization in passing. Buy-in must come from everyone. Accountability must be woven into the fabric of your organization. It has to become a part of every aspect of your business.”

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