Many organizations struggling with major initiatives look for better means to manage performance. Oversimplification of problems or underestimation of the barriers to change (even the readiness of organizations to absorb change) impedes progress. Executives sponsoring key initiatives, particularly enterprise wide and multi-generational, should seek to understand how its organization executes – what it does and does not do well – and effectively empower change agents and influencers to deliver results.
Wishing Doesn’t Make it So
The dilemma Managers face in making individuals and organizations accountable for success is in integrating the impact of initiatives to individuals, their teams and the organization. Too often, Senior Leadership absolves itself of responsibility for execution and creates an arbitrary systems of penalties without recognition. This trait hallmarks organizations focused on excuse rather than execution. Timely decisions on critical issues, proper resourcing, problem definition and setting realistic expectations are within the domain of Senior Leadership; communication, expectation management and execution are the responsibility of Managers and their Teams. Each needs the other. The skill is in managing initiatives and relationships – both – for the good of the organization.
So how do you change the dynamic? Build engaged and informed Teams. It begins through communication and creating a bias toward execution rather than excuse. Drive decision authority down and provide ample room for process innovation. Teams often know better than Management what needs to be done and require nothing more than empowerment. It is the role of Senior Leadership to provide guidance, remove impediments and effectively monitor and support major initiatives.
Think Positive: Transforming Accountability by Roger Connors and Tom Smith appeared in the April 2010 edition of Talent Management (www.talentmgt.com). The authors suggest Senior Leadership often fails to hold others (particularly themselves) accountable for the consequence of failed initiatives and missed opportunities. The steps for success seem simple: see it, own it, solve it, do it. There exists more than a kernel of wisdom in this common sense approach.
People can be held accountable for one thing: the expectations leaders have of them. Whatever the expectation is, the process of managing expectations becomes the act of holding others accountable. Performing this act in a positive, principled way will not only deliver results, it will simultaneously raise both individual and organizational morale. And there will be no more shaking heads wondering, “how did that happen?”
The article suggests accountability as an underpinning for successful initiatives. Assuredly, there are many other success factors, but consider how engaged and informed your Teams are within their initaitives. Is the bias of your organization toward execution or excuse?
For additional information contact:
John P. Dwyer, FACHE
Black Diamond Consulting, LLC
Black Diamond Transformation, LLC ©2015. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.