(I really should be at the piano but I find that there are few things on my mind this morning).
I find myself engaged in my fair share of conversations around accountability in various settings – particularly the Western world’s spin on it. That is, who can we hold accountable when something goes wrong? As I’ve blogged in the past, I personally think that individual accountability for team outcomes is a bit misguided. Debating “who gets called in the middle of the night” is truly missing the point. If you structure your organization in a manner such that individuals are solely accountable for team outcomes then don’t be suprised by the behavior that follows.
(As a leader, you are first and foremost a system designers and influencer. Don’t forget that.).
However, I do wonder what would happen if leaders spent half the time they spend debating who is accountable, actually promoting individual and team ownership in their organizations. Do individuals and teams feel ownership over their work, processes, techniques and outcomes? Or do they feel like their stuck simply following instructions? A means to an end? It’s not enough to simply talk about it, we need to intentionally create the conditions that actually support ownership at all levels.
Does your organization have a culture of ownership? What would a random survey show if you asked that question within your organization? How much time is spent discussing what needs to be done so that individuals and teams actually take more ownership? Nothing is a panacea and yet low ownership levels leaves a lot on the table.
Let’s focus more on a culture of ownership, maybe it’ll address our accountability problem.
(Now off to the piano…)