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"Clear is Kind" - Brené Brown

Everyone has heard this quote, right? But, do you know how to apply it and use it inside your organization? I think the most obvious application for work is accountability (with boundaries being a close second). It's a word, like conflict, that can scare some people off - because they immediately remember a time when they were on the receiving end of being held accountable and it felt like they were “in trouble” or being sent to the principles office. Have you experienced that? Or, perhaps you started your own business so that no one else would ever tell you what to do again. In that case, how are you at holding yourself accountable to your goals? Remember:

That said, accountability is a cornerstone of success. You can't get results without accountability. So be kind to yourself and your team members, and make sure what you want is clear to your whole team (organization). And, since NO ONE wants to feel like they are being scolded at work (the goal is to engage employees, not scare them off) you'll want to take a thoughtful approach to how you hold your team accountable. Here are 7 EFFECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY STRATEGIES which, when used consistently, can elevate team performance, drive success, and build strong employee connections. 1. Set, document and revisit GOALS regularly. This one feels obvious, right? But, stop for one moment and ask yourself, if I put all my employees names in a hat and drew one out at random could I (or this person's line manager): a. Clearly articulate that ICs current goal or goals? b. Could the IC articulate their current goal or goals? (this same activity can be applied to #3) Whether you prefer the rowboat analogy or Jim Collin's famous “people on the bus and in the right seats” analogy, the truth remains the same. Organizations that accomplish their goals, first set them (this might be via your annual strategic planning session, or quarterly off sites for the leadership team) and then keep them front and center through accountability. 2. Maintain open and honest communication. Encouraging a culture where team members feel comfortable discussing challenges, progress, and roadblocks fosters an environment of trust and accountability. Leaders should be approachable and available for discussions, where they actively listen to understand concerns and provide guidance. In theory, everyone wants this and agrees it's a good idea, but few make time for it. Because, THINGS NEED TO GET DONE!!! (tyranny of the urgent and all that jazz)…But, when everyone is focused on efficiency or putting out fires, you can inadvertently created a culture where there isn't enough time for open and honest communication. Real-time tip: Check in with your team on this. Ask them when they feel is the right time to discuss issues, have questions answered and seek clarity. If they have no clear answer, it needs to be designed into your weekly schedules. 3. Clearly define roles and responsibilities. When everyone understands their specific duties and how they contribute to the larger objectives, it becomes easier to hold each other accountable (it becomes easier BECAUSE of the clarity. I am not afraid to ask a colleague about their work because I know it's theirs and they have ownership over it). Regularly revisiting and adjusting roles as needed based on evolving requirements helps in maintaining alignment and clarity. Research shows that employees are 25% more effective when they have role clarity.

4. Break down larger goals into smaller milestones with specific deadlines. These incremental steps allow for continuous progress checks and help in identifying potential issues early on. Deadlines create a sense of urgency and focus, motivating team members to stay committed and accountable for their contributions. Real-time tip: Schedule a meeting with your team (2-3 hours) wherein you present your big (time-bound) strategic goal and then spend a few hours working together to break it into it's parts and pieces and reverse engineer the steps that will get you to the big goal, you can then make sure each step is clearly assigned to someone with a deadline. If you know your teams working genius' they can be really helpful (If you don't let me help!) in this process. 5. Use tools and technologies to streamline accountability. Don't get stuck in the inertia of choosing the perfect one. Progress over perfection. For what it's worth I like Asana as an online option, and these good old-fashioned to-do lists:

6. Recognize and reward accountability. If you need some ideas for this go back and read THE APPRECIATION POST. Or perhaps you could use some help setting up a formalized recognition and reward program? I can help. 7. Give regular feedback. Continuous feedback loops are essential for accountability to thrive. If you need more ideas for this go back and read THE FEEDBACK POST. You can find some free tools to help with feedback conversations and setting strategic goals at my website. Lastly, you don't have to go it alone. I am here to help. This is a great time of the year to schedule a strategic planning retreat for 2024. If you know you need more support in the people, culture, and people-process strategy, but aren't sure where to start, reach out and we can schedule a chat.

Just for you…

BRENÉ BROWN If you've never watched her 2019 Netflix special, it's worth the time. The part about her husband and her in the “magic lake” is vulnerability gold. 😭

Reach out and connect to find out how I can help your organization embrace accountability and thrive!

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