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Fixing the Accountability & Ownership equation at a Systemic level
Incorporating it in intangibles – Fixing the accountability & ownership paradigm, requires organizational macros of vision, mission, culture, values & expected behaviors & living it on a daily basis, at all levels is a must have, along with keeping a check on how the operating model is playing it by.
Finding a way in organizational macros is one thing, but Ownership & Accountability are such that they need to be lived on a daily basis. Hence, there has to be a constant dialogue amongst everybody, with respect to how are we doing on it & to improve it. It’s one of those things, which gets institutionalized with actions, & gets reinforced with constant dialogue within the team to improve it. Infact for Leadership, this is one of key success metrics of their effectiveness – is whether they have been able to setup a system which fixes the OA equation.
System to measure it: Essentially, all of the trio, namely, Ownership, Accountability & Trust have to be measured across (these have to be measured at all levels – at Individual levels, through a 360, at team & functional level, through pulse checks, & at an organizational level, through effectiveness surveys) only then can they be setup for improvement. While Accountability needs to have consequences that are both ways, positives and negatives, Ownership on other hand needs to be seen in the light of willingness of people to go the extra mile to get to the right.
A fallback on accountability gets met with defined consequences consistently & appropriately, with no exceptions. Research also corroborates that business leaders lose the most credibility when poor performance isn’t dealt with and survives with multiple lifelines, and no repercussion.
One prominent design flaw that we have noticed in the systems which measure these, is the underlying principle of incentivization. This makes the system only work for people who respond (positively or negatively) to what’s getting measured, it does not get traction with the leftovers, which is in a way negatives of gaming the system. Being present in the organizational macros, such systems of measures are hygiene & defacto applicable to all, with no exceptions. Only then can it serve the intended purpose.
Reflect on both of above regularly with the teams, nudging all the stakeholders to improve the OA score across organization
While much has been written about Ownership – Accountability, much less of it has made it into action, to conclude, we would only like to put it as – without accountability, nothing can get done & without ownership, nothing meaningful can be achieved.