The Executive Toolbox: Building Team Accountability

Successful teams take accountability for the results they achieve, both as a team and individually. This doesn’t happen accidently. The ability to build accountability with your team and each member of the team is a skill an executive needs to master in order to be successful.

Executives often find it difficult to hold their teams accountable, yet most senior executives and business owners I’ve worked with have no problem accepting accountability for the business results of their organization and, when asked, will candidly admit they expect to be fired, or lose their business, if they don’t meet the business goals.

In examining why executives are reticent about holding their teams and individuals accountable I’ve found executives often don’t feel confident they set the team up to succeed. In order to build that confidence there are some key components that, when put in place, help a team to succeed:

  1. The Goal: A SMART goal that is sustainable, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.
  2. Alignment around the Goal and Commitment to its Achievement:  It’s essential that the team be aligned about what they’re trying to achieve and committed to its achievement.
  3. The Plan: The plan needs to include what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who needs to do it.
  4. Assignment of Accountability: The team needs to agree who is accountable for each component of the plan.
  5. Metrics: There needs to be a core set of metrics or measures in place that show progress against the plan.
  6. The Review Process: There needs to be a process in place to review the progress against the plan so course corrections can be made.
  7. Course Corrections: The wisdom and willingness to make timely mid-course corrections.

With these elements in place much of the ambiguity that can cause problems is removed and the team has a higher probability of success.