Accountability A Key To Productivity Improvement

AccountabilityThe dictionary defines ACCOUNTABILITY as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

Accountability is essential to improving productivity and operating performance. The following short story illustrates what could or will happen when action without accountability take place.

A Short Story On Accountability

“The story involves 4 people who’s names are Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would get it done. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody accomplished it.

Somebody got aggravated about that since it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody knew that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”

Steps To Create Accountability

What can be done to build a culture of accountability and hold people accountable for THEIR performance?

It may well be SIMPLE:

S = Set expectations for each and every person

I = Invite commitment from each person

M = Measure progress during the process

P = Provide feedback in a clear and timely way

L = Link to consequences should the established to commitments not be met

E = Evaluate effectiveness and use of resources used

S = Set expectations for each person involved supports accountability

The success of each organization comes down to how well it organizes its personnel to focus on and work toward the same vision

Each employees will need to know and understand what is expected of them or they can’t be held accountable for anything

The more clearly the expectations and goals are set at the beginning, the less time will be wasted later clarifying what was really expected

I = Invite commitment from each person involved on their role and accountability

Just because ones employees know what to do doesn’t signify they will do it. After goals and expectations are set, employees need to commit to achieving them

Employees are much more likely to do this when they understand two things:

– how the goals will benefit them personally, and

– how the goals will help move the organization forward

Once this connection is made they are a lot more likely to buy into the goals, and actually be comfortable with you holding them accountable for the outcomes

M = Measure progress throughout the process and reenforce accountability for results

Information is needed to hold your employees accountable. Measure their ongoing performance and assess whether or not they meet the goals and expectations to which they had previously committed

Goals are only measurable when they are quantified. Measure the results and compare them to the employees’ goals to discover the gaps that require further attention

P = Provide feedback in a clear and prompt manner

Feedback will not solve problems by itself, but it will open the door for problem-solving discussions and follow-up actions

The employees need feedback to carry out a good job and improve in areas where performance is falling short of expectations. Most of the time, giving objective, behavioral feedback is all it takes. Setting expectations followed by quality feedback is the backbone of holding someone accountable for results

L = Link to consequences should the agreed to commitments not be met

Sometimes employees need a little bit of external motivation to live up to their commitments. When they struggle to reach their goals, they can be helped by applying practical consequences

E = Evaluate effectiveness and use of resources applied

Review how the process was handled

Put a systematic and disciplined method in place and you’ll find that whenever people are held accountable for the work that must get done, it gets done

Goals must be tied to larger organizational goals

For goals to be meaningful and effective in motivating employees, they must be tied to larger organizational ambitions.


Employees who don’t perceive the roles they play in company success are more likely to become disengaged. No matter what level the employee is at, they should be able to articulate exactly how their efforts feed into the broader company strategy.

High performance and success are not dependent on one simple factor or as a result of one or two things. The entire context you operate in greatly impacts ones results.

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