Accountability Trumps the Blame Game Every Time

"When is John going to get me that report?" "What is going on with the marketing report? When are they going to finish that thing?" "I can’t believe Mary is so late in making those phone calls." "Okay…who dropped the ball this time?"

“When is John going to get me that report?”


“What is going on with the marketing report? When are they going to finish that thing?”

“I can’t believe Mary is so late in making those phone calls.”

“Okay…who dropped the ball this time?”

“Hey…that’s not MY job.”

Does this sound familiar? If so, your small business team may be faced
with a big challenge with accountability, which results in finger
pointing, frustration and broken trust…both with your employees and
your customers. Personal responsibility and accountability can put an
end to the blame game, saving your business thousands if not millions
of dollars by increasing productivity and overall job satisfaction,
which results in very satisfied customers. These five basic approaches
can support you in increasing accountability, which are simple, yet
they require actually building a culture of accountability for your

Communicate the big picture
Accountability stands a better chance of succeeding if everyone in your
business embraces a larger responsibility for the success of the entire
company. Spend time talking individually with team members about how
his or her project affects the vision and mission of the business. With
this communication, people can make wiser decisions from the context of
the “big picture” rather than from the perspective of what may seem to
be a detailed and boring task.


State clear expectations
If one person on your team does not meet your expectations, the entire
team can fail. It is important from the very beginning of any new
project to state the expectations clearly and repeat them over and over
again until your team really “gets it.” These expectations need to be
crystal clear, including dates, who is responsible for what, the
details of the task and how you want the finished product delivered. If
your expectations are fuzzy or confusing in any way, your team can
break down, and the fine and very important details can fall through
the cracks.

Accountability work groups
One of the best ways to achieve accountability is to develop shared
accountability among team members. Accountability within the team can
be accomplished by what Morris R. Shechtman calls “accountability
groups,” groups which give team members the permission to speak and
listen in a way which is frank and open. This accountability group can
include 2-5 people and can then serve as a small unit of people working
together to confide in with struggles, weaknesses and insecurities.
They can then find creative strategies to work together in the
direction of the growth the team intends to achieve.

Move to action
In order for accountability to work, people have to know that failure of
completion will come with certain consequences, including written
warnings, loss of a bonus or extra hours served on a week-end to
complete the project on the table. Without consequences, your employees
won’t take you seriously. They will think that they can use blame,
justification and rationalization as a way to deviate from being
responsible, because you have not followed through on what you said you
will do if the tasks are not achieved.

Reward and recognition program
Employees need to know in a tangible way their efforts are indeed driving the
company forward, and it is important for them to share in the fruits of
their hard work. The offer of increased pay and benefits (vacations,
time off and other perks) can keep accountability and morale high and
can motivate employees to continue to strive for high levels of