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Business is facing a growing problem with declining levels of engagement by staff. Lower engagement means lower productivity, less customer satisfaction and increased costs. Put simply – it’s bad for business.

And yet, there is fix – a culture of accountability throughout the business.

Back in 2017, an extensive Harvard Business Review study across American industry showed just 15% said they were working at their full potential. With The Great Resignation underway, it’s almost certain that these already-low levels have dropped still further.

Backing this up, recent research among more than 600 SMBs (with 50-500 employees) showed over 63% of CEOs said retaining staff is harder than hiring them.

Simply put, people don’t feel engaged with their companies, and are looking for better ones.

And the “new normal” of remote working isn’t helping, as companies struggle with productivity, as the Annual CEO Benchmarking Report of 2021 showed, with almost 60% of CEOs citing this as their biggest concern.

Much of this comes down to culture and the traditional hierarchical business structures.

As companies continue to evolve their internal structures and their strategies in these uncertain times with new models of working and changing levels of customer behaviour, it’s difficult to keep all the staff – many of whom are now permanently remote – updated.

And getting a compelling message across an often-patchy company video link is difficult, too – laptops simply don’t lend themselves to this.

The traditional hierarchical team structures that worked in an office need to be looked at again, with more than half of CEOs saying that getting teams to work well remotely was their biggest challenge.

As a result of these issues, many leaders seem to have moved to trying to become more liked and accepted in an attempt to placate staff. They’ve moved away from accountability – Temptation #2 in the 6 Temptations of a CEO. Alternatively, they try to micro-manage from afar through such tools as software monitoring keystrokes when logged in, which leads to a breakdown in trust.

What leaders need to do, especially today, is ensure a culture of accountability throughout the business. This need so start from the top and being seen to be accountable – tell your team that you expect them to hold you accountable for your actions and be clear that when you commit to something, you will do it.

Let your team members understand that you trust them to perform their jobs (after all, if you don’t trust them, they shouldn’t be in that position), setting meaningful goals and putting appropriate measures in place using an OKR framework, or similar. And put in place a clear system for defining where levels of authority lie – delegating this to the lowest appropriate levels in the business to speed decision-making. (If you’d like a sample authority framework sheet to help you structure your own, press here to email me a request and I’ll be pleased to send you one.)

Make it clear that with responsibility comes accountability and you expect things to be done on time, to the standards required.

Engage meaningfully with those who slip to understand why it happened and how this can be avoided in future as, especially early in the transition, there may be a disconnect between what should be done and what can be done. But don’t allow the accountability culture to be diluted by blame and weak excuses – show how important taking ownership for one’s actions is.

Establishing a culture of accountability throughout the business promotes a sense of ownership of their roles among staff, and so engagement – they all know what their responsibilities are and the expectations for those responsibilities. This, in turn, promotes a sense of pride among people, increases compliance and considerably reduces the time you would otherwise be spending on relatively minor decisions, as these are being taken at the appropriate level.

This makes for a stronger, happier workplace which, in turn, promotes greater levels of customer satisfaction, too – all of which is great for your bottom line, as Gallup found in this study, showing a 21% improvement in profitability.

Does your business have an established culture of accountability?

If not, is there any reason not to establish one?


#BusinessFitness #Accountability #Culture #Excellence #JobSatisfaction #Leadership #Loyalty #Management #Motivation #People #ProblemSolving #Productivity #Profitability #Teams #Winners


Some of my additional posts where you can learn more on this topic:


This Forbes article might also be useful: Why Accountability Is Vital To Your Company


P.S. If you’d like to discuss your accountability culture, book a no-obligation 30-minute call here, or send me a note to contact you here.


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