Accountability Secrets and What They Can Teach You About How to Focus Everyone on Results

 

“Loan demand dried up.”
“I’m too busy to develop business.”
“Nobody told me.”

Most workplaces are filled with the “busy without results” people. Those folks feel that a well-crafted excuse is a fine replacement for results any day. Worse yet, it doesn’t even occur to them that organizations that allow “excuse crafters” to ply their trade end up freezing everybody’s salary, cutting bonus pay, AND eventually…ceasing to exist.

Contrast that to the super performers…the ones who always hit all the goals and all their targets. And they always find a way to go above and beyond. Don’t you just love them?

Sure. Some people find accountability to be intrinsic—they own it in every cell of their bodies. Their word is law. They truly “get” what integrity means.

Some people are naturally more developed and understand that their word needs to be law. For the rest, here are 7 ways to activate the potential for that integrity.

1)  Throw out job descriptions

Then, of course, there is a need to have the right metrics. Who cares how many prospect calls are made? That didn’t even work back in the 80s as a key metric, and it sure doesn’t now when price competition is at an all-time high. Instead, you want metrics on things like “Number of aces on Top 1000 prospects” and “Weighted sales funnel on Top 1000 prospects.” Those show that not only are they making the calls, but they’re also making them to the right people and getting the right results that don’t get you into a “match that rate” bind later.

2) Ownership of team goals, outcomes, and processes

What a beautiful thing it is when every employee gets their head in the game and understands that they are 100 percent accountable for the results of the team.

When that day happens, CEOs are known to do back-flips through lobbies. Imagine a daily huddle where all employees are celebrating critical drivers of the organization and the numbers they contribute to make those happen. Imagine that if something isn’t at 100 percent of goal tracking, everyone starts volunteering their solutions, and more importantly, their commitments, to get that result above goal by the next day.

Brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it? It’s possible…so read on.

3)  Create a “systematic” celebration machine

Yes, a celebration is good, but not a celebration for just showing up. Not celebration for “nice trys.” Instead, you want a celebration for key results on KPIs, critical drivers, targets hit, and team getting points for hitting their targets in your team contests. Daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly rituals of celebration, but all tied to key results: That’s where the magic happens.

4) The expectation of self-management to critical drivers

ALL employees completing 5-minute weekly reports to critical drivers along with their action plans to transform those results is critical to keeping results advancing. Someone who self-manages will not miss a key measurement that’s not doing well because they see how that lacks integrity and scuttles the ability to transform their results authentically. He quickly learns how to keep the scorecard in front of him daily. As a result, he doesn’t have to craft a massive corrective action plan at the end of the week to make up for lost ground for that week and still meet next week’s objectives.

5) No guilt and shame

As individuals and teams are celebrated weekly on their results on their critical drivers, know that those “above the line” are publicly celebrated. But it’s not about guilting those who are not performing above the line. It’s about making sure they see their numbers and how they’re doing relative to team scores, so they get a sense of reality and understand that they really do need to make changes. If the person doesn’t have the skill-sets, the mindsets, or character for that job, you have a platform for an undisputable need to make drastic changes.

6) Demand integrity

Adverse people come in two flavors. The first is the excuse person who brings great creativity to this part of the job. There’s always a reason why they couldn’t, but rarely a solution. It sounds like, “I sent an email,” or “I told her…” These are the ones who don’t understand the adage, “Don’t tell me about the labor pains—show me the baby!”

The other type of “uncoachables” are those who appear to take the coaching but at the end of the day haven’t changed their operating approach—haven’t updated checklists to remind themselves or haven’t changed their time management system or their frequencies necessary to increase results. They smile. They say they care. But their passive-aggressive style of pretending that conversation didn’t happen or feigning that they didn’t understand convinces them (and no one else) that they shouldn’t be accountable. It better not make sense to you. When you buy into passive-aggressive behaviors, you become a huge part of the problem.

If you explained it once to an employee, you should expect implementation. The one who has a pattern of needing to be told twice is often the same person who says, “Oops, I hadn’t heard from you that you still wanted that” and stops doing things that are communicated to be their jobs.

If the passive-aggressive team members aren’t dealt with, others will lose their commitment to accountability, and you’ll have an epidemic of under-performance. That’s the death of hope for any kind of culture shift. A recent Lee Hecht Harrison study shows that an astonishing 97 percent of workers view under-performers as harmful to company success. And they’re right!

7)  Expect evaluation

When every employee has his or her 3 to 5 critical drivers, each is measured on each one, and managers focus like lasers on the success of their team’s critical drivers, it’s impossible for people to stay under the radar. Those who are the self-described “busy people”—the ones who always look massively committed to the Excel spreadsheet in front of them and complain about being overworked but never hit deadlines or outcomes—need to be quickly found out and coached up or out.

You need multiple forms of evaluation tools to make sure that all employees are hitting their targets, all key initiatives defined in the strategic plan are on track, and all those with roles in those areas are meeting their weekly targets. A team that’s fully accountable for hitting your growth targets is a thing of beauty to behold—and manage.

Roxanne Emmerich

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