The Art of Accountability
|The Art of Accountability|
By Ted French, President & Founder, Acclivity Healthcare
We hear a lot these days about accountability. But what does that really mean? Webster defines accountability as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility. The healthcare executives we surveyed certainly agreed with this definition. They look for people that own the problem. But they took this one step further. You can’t just own the problem. That’s the simple part. You also have to own the solution. You have to delve down deep, see the problem for what it is and then look for the process to solve it and then, most importantly, solve it. That’s what accountability is all about.
Easier said than done. So how do you do this?
First things first. You find the problem. This is often where people struggle. Try this process:
1. Define the problem: (with input from yourself and others)
Ask yourself and others, the following questions:
Now that you’ve defined the problem or problems, it’s time to prioritize.
2. Prioritize the problems:
3. Understand your role in the problem:
Okay, so far we’ve defined the problem, prioritized it and we know the part we play in it.
4. Now it’s time to look for the cause:
Now that you have data from others, you should be able to answer what is happening, where, when, how, who and why. Now you’ve really identified your problem.
5. Time to fix it.
But where to start? Unless this is a personal or employee performance issue, it’s useful to keep others involved. When people are a part of the solution, it’s much easier to get buy in early on. You can brainstorm solutions to collect as many ideas as possible, then screen them to find the best idea. Remember, there is no bad idea when you’re brainstorming. The more the merrier!
6. Now it’s time to create your action plan:
This is the actual method you will use to resolve your problem. There are many key factors to consider at this point –
Now that you have your action plan, communicated it to everyone involved in implementing it and to your boss.
7. Monitor implementation of the plan. You should check the indicators of success. Ask yourself:
8. Verify if the problem has been resolved or not.
One of the best ways to verify if a problem has been solved or not is to resume normal operations in the organization. Still, you should consider:
Another key point in accountability for the CFOs we surveyed was that the employee also holds their direct reports equally accountable for their performance. This shouldn’t be just big picture thinking. It should have a trickledown effect so that everyone in the company is accountable to do what they say and say what they do…every single time.