People who work in a Culture of Accountability feel a strong sense of what we call “Organizational Health and Integrity.” It is the collective version of individual health and integrity where “I will do what I say I will do” becomes “We will do what we say we will do.” When people do everything in their power to do what they say they will do, rather than talk and complain, work becomes predictable and commitments become reality.
Think about it. How often do you hear these sorts of questions and comments in the corridors of your organization: “Why can’t people do what they say they’ll do?” “How do they expect us to keep up with their changing priorities?” “We talk and talk about the same old issues, but nothing ever changes—nobody walks the talk around here.” In reality, such questions and comments are pretty typical in today’s organizations, and this is exactly why people in organizations develop a heightened awareness of inconsistencies, contradictions, and hypocrisy. Organizations that do not address this and related issues can expect to pay a huge price for their inattention: unmet expectations and undelivered results throughout the organization.
Only when leaders and organizations are serious about creating a Culture of Accountability can they permanently move from “talking about inconsistencies, contradictions, and hypocrisy,” to “doing something about them.” How do you make that happen? You do it by Follow Through, Get Real, and Speak Up. Follow Through means to “do what you say you will do,” Get Real means to “get to the truth,” and Speak Up means to “say what needs to be said.” No team or organization can expect to develop true accountability or a Culture of Accountability without these values and their associated actions.
To learn more about how to create a Culture of Accountability in your workplace—where people Follow Through, Get Real, and Speak Up—we invite you to join the Accountability Community at www.ozprinciple.com, where you can review the stories of organizations that have actually done it.
A Culture of Accountability and Accountability Community are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership. All other trademarks and registered trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.
When organizational leaders fail to clearly identify what they want to have happen in terms of the achievement of specific, crucial outcomes, they make it much more difficult for the people in their organizations to take accountability, own problems, find solutions, and achieve the outcomes that matter most. Here’s how leaders in one highly respected company stay focused on what they want to have happen.
Berkshire Hathaway’s performance continues to be amazing. The company is #4 (up from #8) on Fortune’s 2014 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. What’s the company’s secret? There is no doubt whatsoever about what matters most to the company: beating the S&P index by investing in the right businesses and trusting talented management with operating decisions. Berkshire Hathaway owns a diverse range of service, manufacturing, retailing, and food businesses, including property and casualty insurance, carpet, bricks and concrete blocks, clothing, retailing, diamonds, flight training, newspapers, candy, farm equipment, consumer finance, industrial coatings, restaurants, engineering software, furniture retailing and leasing, footwear, and more. The company’s operating culture is simple: operating decisions are made by managers of the business units—Berkshire Hathaway claims to have superior CEOs running its businesses—while investment decisions and all other capital allocation decisions are made by Chairman Warren Buffet in consultation with Vice Chairman Charles Munger.
Berkshire Hathaway’s investment/acquisition criteria further clarify what matters most and what they want to have happen: “(1) large purchases—at least $50 million of before tax earnings (the larger the company, the greater our interest); (2) demonstrated consistent earning power—future projections are of no interest to us, neither are turnaround situations; (3) businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt; (4) management in place—we can’t supply it; (5) simple businesses—if there’s lots of technology, we won’t understand it; (6) an offering price—we don’t want to waste our time or that of the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price is unknown.”
Yes, what matters most and what has to happen are perfectly clear to Berkshire Hathaway’s operating managers, acquisition candidates, and shareholders. What about your organization? Do your people know what matters most and what you want to have happen? Can you write it down and get a majority of the people in your organization to agree? If not, then we invite you to join the Accountability Community® at www.ozprinciple.com, where you can review actual client case studies.
Once again, Google was voted the #1 best place to work for 2014 in America by Fortune magazine. According to Fortune, “Employees rave about their mission, the culture, and the famous perks.” Engineers can spend 20% of their time on independent projects and the range of employee perks are setting new standards, including gourmet food, swimming spa, attending doctors, laundry, child care, and a bring-your-dog-to-work policy. Yes, the company attracts people that are creative, entrepreneurial, but it’s the high levels of individual and team accountability for delivering results that sets Google apart. The people at Google take personal accountability for thinking outside the box and continually finding ways to make the organization better. It’s a place where people want to work, not have to work. They also take accountability for giving back. “Google’s stock climbed past $1,000 last year — a boon for Googlers, all of whom are stockholders. CEO Larry Page urged them to be ‘audacious,’ especially in philanthropy. Google donates $50 for every five hours an employee volunteers. Last year a new program sent employees to Ghana and India to work on community projects.”
Culture matters. In fact, organizational culture is the key to sustaining competitive advantage. The best organizational cultures deliver the best business results, again and again; they also create the best work environments for people to grow and thrive. Development of a strong, vibrant organizational culture can be greatly accelerated and facilitated by establishing a foundation of personal and organizational accountability. Without such a foundation, culture change efforts often turn out to be disappointing, short-lived, or both.
To learn more about how to strengthen your organization’s culture, we invite you to join the Accountability Community at www.ozprinciple.com, where you can review actual client case studies.
Accountability Community is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.