Accountability: A Building Block of Culture

Accountability, a building block in culture

Sitting here at my local coffee shop early on a Sunday morning, I overhear the baristas swap stories of unreliable past coworkers. The over-riding theme centers on the complaint that former folk “passed the buck” of accountability. When asked an inconvenient question by a customer, their responses had been “not in my section,” or “I’m on break,” or even “… what should I do about it?”

When the culture at a company is right, employees seek out accountability in the workplace and it occurs to them as a privilege. This kind of accountability promotes ownership, where the employees happily take on accountability as a passion and part of the job.

The key to unlocking the mystery of building the kind of culture where employees take on ownership begins at the top and includes these important ingredients for success:

Clarity: Expectations are ambiguity-free with specificity, measurability, and an achievable timeline.

Buy-In: Commitments are aligned with a high level of ownership regardless of agreement. As Ryan McKeever on Huffington Post defines, “alignment means everyone can support a decision as if it were their own.”

Safety to Communicate: Feedback is encouraged all the way to the top.

Appreciation: No high-performance culture can be complete without authentically acknowledging its people.

Evaluation: Measurement of progress and performance needs to be regular and fair.

Bringing awareness and effort to accountability is a systematic and cultural shift that breeds ownership. Once your employees embrace accountability as a way of being, productivity, partnership, and accelerated results are soon to follow.