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Create "Real" Accountability

What is Accountability?

The funny thing about a tough economy is that it removes the leadership camouflage that sometimes grows "to excess" when times are good. Similarly, in the tough reality of winter, the leaves and foliage are thinned so what may have been hidden is now exposed. In the last two weeks, several GCI clients have discussed the challenges of creating a more "accountable" culture for 2009. Following are a few thoughts about how we view and help cultures build an accountable culture.

Accountability is one of the most abused and poorly utilized words in business today. Many dictionaries misdefine this common word as a synonym for responsibility. In reality, the words are not even similar. The root word for accountability is "count" while the root word for responsibility is "respond". We have interchanged these words so long that we don't blink when they are used in error. The truth is, accountability (the ability to count) is much more complex than a simple definition can encompass.

At GCI, we have created training that supports the concept that being accountable is a multi-directional effort that must be supported by a clear and compelling foundation. Some leaders confuse accountability with blame. "Who are you going to hold accountable?" is often "code" for looking for someone to blame. Discerning the difference is an imperative for leadership success.

Another challenge for many leaders is micromanagement as a form of holding subordinates accountable. We really only micromanange for one of two reasons. First, we don't want our subordinates to fail so we "overmanage" as a way of protecting someone from accountability. Second, we simply don't trust the subordinate to perform the job. Either way, the subordinate fails to succeed or learn from the possible mistake that might occur.

As leaders in this organization, it is up to us to set a good balance between authority and empowerment and through that ensure that every person acts with accountability. The important idea to consider about this is that we cannot "hold" people accountable until they are. And, there are three conditions that must be met - that are in each leader's control - before employees are in a position to demonstrate accountability.

To learn more about GCI and how we help build a culture for accountability, click on the link below and enjoy. Please contact us if you would like more information.

Behavior Based Lean

A Revolutionary Approach to Creating a Lean Thinking Organization...

Most lean initiatives fail because the approach is faulty in its focus and purpose. Too many lean attempts focus on implementation and events rather than developing a culture. In other words, you end up with another "flavor of the month" program that is "done to" rather than become a part of your organization.

At GCI, we have a completely new process (not a program) that builds a culture for lean. Our ACESTM process is built upon the idea that lean is not an event, rather it is a way of thinking that impacts the cumulative behaviors of the many on your team. We help your people think of lean with every daily decision they make on the job.

In this tough economy, we believe Behavior-Based Lean will separate the great companies from the good companies. It could be the difference between survival and extinction in the game of business.