Accountability & Company Growth

Growth is usually associated with winning more clients, increasing sales, hiring more staff and delivering more value to shareholders. This is all relevant and key to growth, however other factors can play a role in a firm’s success. Accountability in the workplace is one of the most important and one of the most difficult things to get right.

Developing a culture of accountability is challenging and identifying the reasons why it is missing is a good way to start your journey. Are people not clear about what they must achieve? Is there a blame culture in the organisation? Are people scared of making decisions that will then be held against them? Are the company’s goals and strategy unclear?

Accountability means that every level of the organisation should be held to account for what they do and what they deliver. For this, having a clear definition of the company’s mission and vision is critical. How can you assess results when the end goal is vague? The first step to start driving accountability is to define what it means for your business.

The team needs to have a common purpose. The management team tends to direct and tell employees what to do but they rarely explain why. If businesses want their staff to buy into a project, they need to set the scene, explain why it is important to the firm and why the support of everybody involved is key. When people understand the bigger picture there is a greater chance to obtain a successful outcome as employees have an interest and can take pride in what they have accomplished.

The leadership group needs to set clear expectations for the team. Deliverables and timelines must be clear from the beginning, however, giving employees leeway to achieve their goals is very important. Allowing staff to make their own decisions contributes to the notion of accountability, taking ownership and feeling empowered means more ideas and better results. To support this, fostering a no blame culture is essential. Employees who are fearful of being crucified for making the wrong decision will disengage and the quality of their input will decrease. Giving people the freedom to take calculated risks will generate more innovative approaches to a problem. The outcome might not always be positive; however, issues can be used as learning points for the wider business.

Ongoing support from management and frequent touch points will ensure the team stays focused on what is important. Constant communication and clear guidelines will help identify potential pitfalls early on. More importantly, make sure the staff are listened to, so the leadership team understands what issues they encounter and what support or resources they need. Do not tell employees what to do; coach them to help them develop, fix their problems and take even more ownership for their work.

Finally, celebrate successes. When something goes wrong it is immediately picked up and analysed, when things go well there is often very little acknowledgement of the work that was put into achieving a positive conclusion. Take the time to give people credit for what they have delivered, recognition make teams and employees feel valued. Valued individuals are more engaged and will feel accountable for what they deliver and the impact it has on the firm.

A strong accountability culture offers many benefits for the business. Trust will be stronger if employees know that they have a safe space to ask for advice and that they can have an open dialogue with other team members and the management. Clear expectations save time as each employee is clear on their responsibilities and what they have to deliver.

Costly mistakes can be dealt with earlier if employees are encouraged to take accountability for their errors without being put to shame.

At Partner Executive we believe leadership teams should put emphasis on honesty, integrity and authenticity to create an environment that will support a culture of accountability. Policies and procedures should be clear and be applied in a similar way to every staff member. Knowing that everybody at every level of the business will be accountable for what they do will generate trust, collaboration and transparency. A healthy work environment will boost productivity and creativity which means even more potential to gain new clients and to increase sales.

Ultimately, accountability means taking responsibility for your actions and that should start at the top.

May 4, 2022