This is the 2nd of a 7-part series on the topic of accountability, based on book “Crucial Accountability”, 2013 (authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler)

Accountability is a word that erupted as mainstream due to numerous corporate scandals and the economic and competitive challenges that abound.

It is no longer just a term used for accounting practices; it is now a behavioural expectation in leadership. As such, “Accountability” is being enforced by many organizations as ‘the way we do business around here’.

Claiming a value of accountability in is one thing; living and breathing the necessary behaviours to enable it is another. Why is that?

We are human and like to be nice. Holding others accountable is a scary place to venture due to many perceived risks.

In order to be accountable, one must be willing to hold others accountable. That is the hard part – it is viewed as conflict. But it becomes much simpler when you have the know-how to hold a crucial conversation and reduce potential risk.

The following insights and tips are based on the research and practical tools and techniques discussed in the book “Crucial Accountability”:

Dissecting Accountability

In order to begin trying to embed the right behaviours in holding others accountable, we need to better understand the root cause of avoidance. What is the challenge we have to overcome, what is the problem with it and what is the end result if we avoid it?

The challenge:

Fear of facilitating these perceived negative conversations as people have an inherent feeling that it is not nice and is a dangerous place to go.

The problem with this thinking:

The cost of silence could be deadly. Many businesses experience damaging consequences in the long-term as people do not speak up when problems or violations occur.

It’s a fine line between saying something and risking the chance of creating a new problem, and saying nothing and perpetuating an existing problem.

The end result:

Lack of accountability leads to business risk such as increased costs, lost productivity, distrust and lack of innovation.

There are clear benefits to those who don’t just talk about accountability, but walk it by motivating and educating employees on how to hold others accountable.

So how does one go about engaging in this courageous conversation? The Accountability Conversation Model will take us through the critical steps in this journey.

Accountability Conversation Model

Next time we will explore these steps in more detail.

Glen Sollors, Senior Consultant