Nov 28, 2018
In this week’s episode, Jim and
Jan address some listener and client questions on the topic of
accountability and ownership. They discuss how to get people to do
what they say they are going to do; who actually is accountable for
getting people to be accountable in the first place; why someone
may not take ownership; and what leaders can do better to foster a
culture of both personal accountability and organizational design
in the workplace.
Q: I struggle with
coaching my team to be more accountable. Why is that, and how can I
works with clients to create what he calls “constructs for
dialogue”. These are a select view of things that show people what
is important, and then help build positive dialogue and consistent
check ins on how progress is going. Leaders often fail to spend the
necessary time defining our internal expectations of success,
urgency and ownership. Once people learn to be accountable in one
part of their role and know exactly how to measure it, it will
bleed into all other parts of the organization.
[6:00] Being a leader doesn’t
mean having the responsibility of keeping track of everyone’s
accountability and progress. It means you must teach people how to
show their own progress in a measurable and consistent
[7:13] When we frame
accountability as a promise, people are more likely to show up and
follow through. Leaders must show that there are both good and bad
consequences based upon keeping or breaking a promise.
[8:33] Q: I
struggle with letting go of authority and ownership of projects and
decisions. What should I do?
A: There is a
connection between proper delegation and ownership. Leaders must
let people own their issue.
[10:28] We can’t control other
people, however we can control how we respond, the questions we ask
and how we may be showing up to get the situations that are
reflected back at us. Whether it’s personal or from a systems
perspective, we must first take a look at ourselves when asking
others to be accountable.
[13:06] Much like designing a
road or intersection, we need to design organizations to get people
where they need to go easily.
Q: How do I
identify and develop a strategy for someone to take ownership of
their project? Why wouldn’t someone take ownership of the
A: There are
many reasons why someone may not take ownership: lack of
confidence, competence, fear of reprisal, confusion of the timeline
or standard, or they just straight up may not be motivated. Good
leaders ask questions to find where the problems are, and what
areas can be adjusted.
[21:21] A coach or mentor can
help provide a different perspective and give a fresh new answer
that will help you progress and move forward.
Q: The person I am
meeting with has ranked him or herself higher than what I believe
is their operating level. How do I deliver this message in a
positive yet honest manner?
self-awareness from feedback loops is very important, and that is
the responsibility of the leader. Yes, we have to adjust and level
set, but the first thing is to look at what feedback loops are
established, and how they could be eased into a more self aware
[29:05] When in doubt of what to
say next, “oh?” with disciplined silence will prompt someone to say
something that contains what you need to focus on next.
- “Shared accountability has to be intentional.
It can’t exist in a vacuum.”
of us want to break a promise,
- “There must be consequences.”
can’t control others, but we can influence them.”
- “People support what they help
- “There is power in disciplined
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