Hurdle #2: People who have never been held accountable are terrified of the idea of being held accountable. This means almost everybody. Most people have been given accountability for activities or to oversee activities and that’s different than accountability for results. When you are accountable for results it means you have to deliver. If you don’t, you are failing at your job and there are consequences, real or perceived. Only a small percentage of people who comprise the workforce have had this kind of accountability (e.g., commissioned sales people and some entrepreneurs).
If you are in a position where you manage others, don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of terror. The fear of being held accountable can be very strong and often not conscious. For example, if you tell an employee you’re making a change and that from now on you are judging them on whether or not they’re producing specific results, the fear for many of them is that they won’t be able to do this. That they’ll fail. That they’ll be exposed and it will be found out that they’re not as competent as everyone believed they were. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, but we’ve seen this kind of fear cause significant resistance to the organizational intent to improve performance by managing execution. And for some, being held accountable can be the news that tells them it’s time to find a new job.
Accountability, or being held accountable, is not the boogey man. Most people who have been held accountable for results (in a good way), will tell you that once you have gotten used to it, you will never go back to the way it was. Note the qualifier, “in a good way.” Beating people up, embarrassing them for not coming through, berating them in front of others are just a few examples of the “bad way.” One client has called what he does “gentle accountability.” He is in charge of the largest company in his industry, one that consistently gets superior results and that has repeatedly been awarded one of the “best places to work.” Accountability is a cornerstone of successful execution management.
The following blogs will discuss other hurdles you need to be aware of in order to be successful in implementing execution management. This education comes from an article co-written by Miles Kierson and Gary Tomlinson.
The Age of Execution is Upon Us!