When something goes wrong and we find someone to blame, sometimes we feel good: “I found the problem, and the problem is you!”
But of course the question is: is the problem solved?
On the other hand, in accountable organizations, several things are in play:
- Right up front we set clear expectations, outcomes, and timeframes.
- We get a commitment to the task and timeframe (contracting).
- After contracting, there is frequent communication about progress towards the goal. We don’t wait until deadlines are close.
- An accountable person immediately speaks up if they have problems or concerns, need help, or see the deadline is not going to be met.
- A work environment is created where mistakes can happen because mistakes will happen in an environment where people are learning.
- We make sure people learn from their mistakes. We figure out together how to get back on track and we decide what should be done to prevent this thing from going wrong in the future.
- We look at the big picture to see if there was something within the processes or system of the organization that may have contributed to this break-down in results.
This is very different from blaming, getting angry, and feeling good because we found someone to blame.
What if everyone on your team was accountable?