The inability to effectively execute the organization’s strategy is one of the most common and costly problems I encounter.
Most organizations are not held back by a lack of creativity, innovation, or a supply of good ideas. What hamstrings most businesses is the inability to translate all of those great ideas into action. If your organization can increase its ability to execute effectively by fostering a strong culture of accountability, it could dramatically impact your success!
That is why I relentlessly focus on understanding what it takes to create a culture where people are focused on holding themselves and each other accountable. My research and projects with hundreds of clients uncovered nine steps to effective execution. Here are four that I think are especially critical.
1. Vision + Values + Strategy.
Do you have a clear and well-communicated vision for your company’s future? Underpinned by a set of core values that dictate how your people will behave along the way, built on the foundation of strategy that spells out the intended outcomes you want to achieve. This is fundamental to effective execution because it is impossible to hold people accountable for a vision and strategy they do not understand.
2. Processes and Procedures.
I wouldn’t say I like process. I am not too fond of Excel spreadsheets. SOP’s give me a migraine. However, I know it is impossible to produce repeatable success without processes and procedures.
I advise creating processes around the most critical drivers of your business’s success.
To me, that means identifying and profoundly understanding the Moments Of Truth for your business – those handfuls of critical customer interactions that you must deliver flawlessly every time. This is essential for creating highly engaged, satisfied, and loyal customers. Then, put the processes, procedures, and systems in place to allow your employees to exceed your customer’s expectations consistently.
3. Two important elements of a culture of accountability are: Measurement and Transparency.
One of my favorite business axioms is: People without access to information do not have to take accountability for their actions. To hold your people accountable for their performance, it is essential that you create a dashboard of the most important numbers and measures that drive your business’s success. Then make sure that everybody in your company understands and sees those measures constantly. Post them on a giant whiteboard in the lunchroom. Send out a daily or weekly e-mail to recap the numbers. Make it the screensaver on everybody’s computer. Talk about it in every single meeting.
Here is the truth: What gets measured, tracked, over-communicated, and rewarded/punished for gets done!
4. Reward Success Lavishly and Deal Decisively with Mediocrity.
When people do a superior job of holding themselves accountable and delivering on their promises, it is vital that you give them genuine, honest, and sincere praise. Then reward them for modeling the appropriate behavior. When I say reward them lavishly, I don’t mean huge bonuses or big cash rewards. I am saying be lavish in your praise and appreciation. Then give them something meaningful to them as an individual. It could be money. And it might be a Starbucks gift card, a better parking spot, or some flex time. Anything that will make that particular team member feel genuinely appreciated.
Conversely, failing to deal directly and quickly with poor performance and lack of accountability sends the message to the rest of your organization that you were just kidding about excellence. It tells everyone else that it’s OK to shirk your responsibilities. Turn things in late, do shoddy work, miss deadlines, and no one is going to hold you accountable for it. Once you start tolerating mediocrity – your organization becomes a magnet for mediocrity.
Although many other factors are involved in building a high-accountability culture, I believe that focusing intently on these four steps will significantly improve accountability in your company. Leading to positive results and success in your business.
Please visit my site at https://johnspence.com/contact/ if you want to get in contact with me. I’d love to hear from you.