Ah – accountability. Most people think they have it, very few people do, and even fewer know how to coach it in others. But if there is one thing that businesses need in order to have a high performance culture, it’s accountability. We see it all the time: when you get an accountability culture you are 80% of the way to a high performance culture – yep it’s a big one.
What is accountability?
We have many tools to describe, coach and foster accountability in individuals and businesses, but in its broadest sense it is someone doing what they say they will do, by the time they said they were going to do it – that is, they get the results – no excuses! Emphasis on the no excuses – no blaming anyone else for why you didn’t do it; no blaming external factors such as market conditions. If an obstacle comes up, the accountable people will ask – “ok what’s the workaround to still get us the results?” instead of seeing the obstacle as a valid excuse for not getting the result.
And to take it a step further we can see an accountable person as someone who will always choose their responses to everything. Things don’t always go our way, and I’m not saying that bad or inconvenient things never happen to accountable people, but they certainly choose their responses to these events in a productive way rather than just playing the victim. And yes the accountable people still vent – just not for too long.
Yes it is certainly coachable and that will take more than a couple of hundred words, so perhaps let’s start off with one piece of advice which can get a jump on protecting your accountability culture…..
If they’re not accountable outside of work, they probably won’t be accountable at work
In all my years of coaching and leadership, I’ve never met anyone who was not accountable outside of work who magically behaved in a fully accountable way at work.
So, try to hire people who show accountability outside of work… and it’s really easy to find out if they have it or not…
We get this question all the time… “How do I know if someone is really accountable and not just telling you what you want to hear in their interview?” And that is a very valid question. Let’s face it, many people can present as though they are accountable but when push comes to shove, not so much.
So yes there are some interview tricks, but in this blog we will focus on an even easier way…
Check their social media and the people who know them
Social media may have plenty of downsides, but it has certainly made recruiting a whole lot easier! Jump on social media and get a flavour for their posts. If they are generally just ranting, being really negative or blaming others this may be a red flag as to their level of accountability (amongst other traits) in life. If you feel there are some concerns, then you’re probably right.
Also thanks to social media it’s not hard to work out who knows who. Don’t bother with reference checking the references they provided – of course they will be amazing. Instead find out who they know, who’s worked with them, who they associate with and go straight to a mutual connection as the source of an honest answer as to their accountability standards both in and out of work.
Overall, accountability is a really important piece in your high performance culture puzzle.
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