Monday, October 27, 2014

Increase Accountability

Being accountable is doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it.  Not completing tasks or missing deadlines causes loss of credibility and the respect of others.  Driving accountability within an organization or department will increase efficiency, create a more trusting team, and help accomplish collective goals.  Here are the tools to increase accountability.

Time and Dates
Assign time and dates to projects.  Sounds simple but many forget this critical piece.  Collectively agree on what day and what time the project is due. An example is Friday, Oct 31st at 3:00 pm. Review and confirm that all parties agree on this time. Now you must hold the person or team accountable to meeting that agreed upon timeline.

Tracking Progress
Many projects have various pieces that must be managed through – the art of project management.  Create appropriate check-ins on progress. The frequency and amount of meetings depends on the project and the personnel. These touch base meetings keep you plugged in and aware if anything is getting off track. If something is falling behind, you can adjusted as appropriate.  This check-in process should remove any surprises of things falling through the cracks or a missed deadline.

Not every task assigned needs this level of management.  Prioritize the key projects that are strategic initiatives for your department or team.  Having ten projects due on the same day and time won’t drive great results.  Properly prioritizing what needs to be done and by when will create mutual trust by all parties. It also means the team is working on is the most important projects.

Missed Deadlines and Excuses
Even with these steps, deadlines can be missed. Generally the "why" excuses are the focus on the conversation following an accountability issue. Challenge yourself not to ask about the why. Refocus the conversation on what are the next steps to get the project done, when it will be done, and can you count on them to complete it. Both agree this is the new deadline.  If you have this conversation multiple times, this is a sign that something is wrong with the process or the employee. 

Creating a culture of accountability will produce a more successful business.  Be diligent and reinforce time and dates, track results, and measure alignment with your team. This will ensure you have the right work force who respects the business needs and are credible to get the job done.