Process Improvement

How have you been ensuring your subordinates or team members are accountable?

Accountability plays a crucial role in driving process performance as it promotes performance improvement, transparency, problem-solving, goal alignment, and learning and development. It refers to the responsibility and ownership that individuals or teams have for their actions, decisions, and outcomes. By establishing a culture of accountability, organizations can enhance their operational efficiency, meet business objectives, and achieve sustainable success.

Employees feel accountable for operating performance and improvement when they are held responsible for meeting process goals and objectives. They are more likely to take ownership of their tasks and strive for excellence, leading to improved process performance. The process of accountability works best if an individual responsible is periodically called upon by another person or group, such as the corporate board, executive manager, or team lead to provide an account of their tasks.

According to Capt. Jim Wetherbee, USN, Ret. In his book titled “Controlling Risk in a Dangerous World,” the two-person process of exercising accountability should be accomplished on a routine basis in a supportive way. The manager or team leader should create accountability by establishing frequent meetings with the subordinate managers or team members to discuss operating performance and delivery of objectives. The meeting could be online or in person.

Exercising accountability can simply be achieved by requiring the individual to provide answers like these questions: what did you or your team accomplish last week? How well did your team perform? What did you and your team learn? What issues have you uncovered? What is your schedule and predicted performance in the next few weeks? What obstacles do you foresee? What resources do you need? How can I support you?

It is good to know that the goal of being accountable is not about motivating individuals for promotion and receiving bonuses but rather executing their responsibilities in a high-quality way and overall aligning individual and team goals with the mission and strategy objectives of the organization. Employees need to understand how their work contributes to the success of the process and the entire organization. This alignment enhances focus, collaboration, and commitment to achieving desired process outcomes.

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