What is Accountability?
Accountability is often linked to a punitive management system where targets are either met or not met, and consequences are accordingly actioned. While it is certainly true that accountability involves the incorporation of targets, it is actually an integral part of governance planning within any organization.
The question is not “how do I get someone to do a task?” but rather “how can I ensure that I set in place systems that give employees the best opportunity to succeed in their roles?” This hints to the fact that accountability systems, in whatever shape or form (e.g., EON has tasks and workflows to which owners are assigned, with regular email reminders), need to be agreed on and adopted by management as a useful means of ensuring that people can be driven to succeed.
Following this high-level adoption of the accountability system is the need for a systematic alignment and review schedule. Employees need to know not only by when or how something must be done but also at what interval their progress will be checked and what the review process looks like. Tied to this is the chance for management to offer support should targets not be met.
In a practical scenario, you will want to ensure that both team and individual goals/tasks are relayed to every member, at every level, of your organization. This will provide the platform from which to administer the accountability system. It is important to take the time as management to not only consider the goals and tasks themselves but also how they align to the capabilities and personal attributes of the person or team implementing them.
Lastly, it is crucial to acknowledge the work that has been done. Should the goals be in-line with the employee's capabilities and the business objectives and should the employee be given the best possible chance of succeeding then there will be progress to celebrate. It is crucial to identify and acknowledge the meeting of responsibilities. This is the second half of the basis for a shared culture of accountability.
Accountability is not a stand-alone feature and forms part of a series of considerations one must take when embarking on a sustainable CI journey. Have you considered where your current CI process may be lacking? Could your accountability structure be improved?