• 1st March 2007 - By proteman

    Can an organization be too focused on accountability? Too much of a good thing is always bad. Below are some examples of accountability run amuck and its unintended negative consequences. See if your organization suffers any of these symptoms.

    The “Ask for Forgiveness Later Syndrome”

    Are there people in your organization who seem to think that saying “I’m sorry” or “I’m responsible” on the back end makes everything better?

    When talking about accountability in your culture, make it clear that saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t give you carte blanche to behave however you want. Let everyone know that accountability starts on the front end, before you act. Accountability means taking responsibility for your words and actions, not just owning up to them after the fact.

    The “I Gotcha” Syndrome

    When things go wrong, do people blame and finger-point? Do managers try to catch employees doing things wrong, instead of doing things right?

    While it is important for individuals to own their mistakes, too much focus on placing blame can create a “police state”. This is a distrusting, punitive environment in which more time is spent asking “Who did it?” versus actually fixing the problem. Remember, don’t let accountability interfere with getting good work done.

    The “Track Everything” Syndrome

    Has your organization gone “metrics happy”? Do people spend so much time tracking and measuring that they can’t get their work done?

    These organizations are so concerned with being accountable and measuring everything that they lose focus. People in the organization forget to ask “Why are we tracking this?” As a result, everything gets tracked, even things that just aren’t that important.

    Figure out what is most important to track and measure, and focus on those. Eliminate reports, tracking systems and accountabilities that aren’t critical to business success, like Home Depot’s new CEO, Frank Blake, is trying to do. Who knows…when your employees start spending less time tracking and more time thinking, you might discover a whole new level of innovation in your business!

    © 2006 The Loyalty Group. All Rights Reserved.

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