Accountability Is the Game-Changer in Business Relationships

Accountability can be a game-changer in business. Are you walking the walk?

business practice, accountability, communications, thomasnetWhen something goes wrong, it is always someone else’s fault. The whole concept of accountability is tainted with misconceptions, frustration, and blame. Within the business construct, accountability is even more frustrating and brings tension and more excuses.

Accountability, at its core, is doing what you say you will do, and when you say you will do it. The foundation of accountability lies in the communication cycle and the definition of the deliverable.

Let’s start with the communication cycle with an example we can all relate to: taking out the trash.  Mary asks Jim to take out the trash before dinner. Jim says yes. He knows that dinner is at 6 p.m.; it is 4 p.m. He will get to it.

Mary, however, wants the trash taken out now, not in an hour, although she didn’t communicate that specific detail. Mary is also expecting that not just the kitchen trash but the rest of the trash in the house will be collected, since “everyone” knows that the weekly trash pickup is tomorrow morning.

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 Stress and frustration build. Mary doesn’t understand why Jim didn’t do it immediately. Jim doesn’t understand why Mary is suddenly upset. Sound familiar?

Now apply that same scenario to the work environment. You may not be asked to take out the trash, but performing your duties and the communication around them is still the same, and your priorities and those of your co-workers might not always weave together well. You get the project completed; however, it is later than desired and the quality is not what is expected. Tensions rise, the delivery date to the customer is missed, and quality suffers.

What is the solution?

1. Communicate and Ask Questions. Often, the lack of accountability comes not from insubordination (if it does, then that is a separate discussion) but the lack of clarity regarding what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and other specific details. Too often, assumptions are made regarding the individual’s ability to both tackle and complete the task.

One of my friends has been in information technology for 25 years. He was asked by his supervisor to conduct a project that was fairly large in scope. He was more than willing to take on the project; however, he had no idea how to start or what to do to accomplish the projected outcomes. His manager made the assumption that he had actual experience with this type of project and thus would be successful. Nothing was further from the truth.

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This article was originally published on ThomasNet News Industry Market Trends  and is reprinted with permission from Thomas Industrial Network.  For more stories like this please visit Industry Market Trends