The Accountability/Alignment Process: Three Steps to an Accountable Organization
The Accountability/Alignment Process: Three Steps to an Accountable Organization
Generating genuine accountability and functional alignment into your workplace cannot be left to vague ambitions and abstract statements. Well designed processes must be embedded into the heart of an organization to ensure that each employee's goals and expectations are clearly defined and that the resources to bring about specific measurable results are in place.
In our recent book, Aligned Like a Laser, we outline an effective three step process for ensuring managers and employees are mutually accountable and that the entire organization is aligned toward specific goals.
The Accountability/Alignment process has three fundamental steps:
(1) Accountability (2) Alignment (3) and Achievement
These steps shape the essential foundation for the practice of accountability and workplace alignment.
Step 1: Accountability
Accountability is articulated through a document called an Accountability Agreement. This document forms a context for success by making each individual's contribution visible within the organization. It is a brief - 2 to 3 page - overview of the outcomes that an individual is promising to deliver which also outlines the support and resources that he or she needs from others in order to achieve these results.
Seven Elements of an Accountability Agreement:
(1) Business Focus Statement
(2) Operational Accountabilities
(3) Leadership Accountabilities
(4) Support Requirements
(6) Sustainment Plan
(7) Positive Consequences
Step 2: Alignment
Alignment requires a constructive business dialogue focused on end results. After completing Accountability Agreements, a workgroup negotiates responsibilities and forms an understanding of each member's contribution to the team.
The alignment process involves resolving gaps and overlaps in the team's accountabilities, and it ensures that each member agrees to provide the critical support needed to fulfil the team's purpose.
Alignment clarifies the practice of accountability; it focuses energy and eliminates distractions across the entire organization. It also provides a renewed sense of confidence and interdependence based on a publicly declared promise to deliver business results.
Step 3: Achievement
The Accountability/Alignment process brings immediate results, but lasting achievement is gained through maintaining the discipline fostered by the process. There are several ways to ensure that Accountability/Alignment brings long term achievement.
Keep Accountability Agreements Visible
Put Accountability Agreements Online
Synchronize the Process
Ensure Business Results
The Accountable Workplace
Shaun Murphy, Ph.D. and Bruce Klatt, M.A. are senior partners in Murphy Klatt Consulting and authors of Aligned Like a Laser (2004) and Accountability: Getting a Grip on Results (1997). They are internationally recognized experts in the field of Organizational Effectiveness whose books have sold over 100,000 copies internationally. For more information please go to murphyklatt.com or try their online Accountability Alignment tool at alignonline.com.
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