How to Achieve Workplace Accountability-Step 4 of 4

For maximum benefit, read series in order.

For reference, here is our system.

Employees > Tasks > Processes > Work Products > Goals

The Business of Accountability System™

The last step of our system is all about people, your Employees. This is where most training events and improvement projects begin. Well-intentioned managers often provide training for their employees in order to compensate for poor processes, unattainable goals, unclear expectations, a vague corporate strategy, and lack of accountability in general. The “flavor of the month” training approach fails employees and managers alike. My mission is to replace the failed approach with a system that works.

Managers, do you have the right people in place? Do they have the knowledge and skills to produce high quality work products that ensure success? Are they proficient at following necessary processes? Are they empowered to prioritize high value tasks? Let’s do a quick informal performance assessment.

Performance Grid

On a scale of 0-10 place your team members on the Performance Grid. Be objective.

The upper left quadrant is typically where we find new hires who are very motivated but lacking skills.

The upper right quadrant represents the exemplary performer who is high in both motivation and skills.

The lower right quadrant is often a tenured employee who is highly knowledgeable and skilled but lacking motivation.

The lower left quadrant represents low performers.

Typically, it is easy for managers to know who belongs in the upper right, exemplary, quadrant. It’s also fairly easy to know who belongs in the lower left, low performer, quadrant. Sorting others in the middle can be more challenging.

Use the grid 0 to 10 scale for help. Move horizontally for a skills value and vertically for a motivation value. For example, I might assign a skills value of 5 and a motivation value of 5 to a true average performer placing him at the very center of the grid. This process makes it easier to compare rankings in skills and motivation.

Upper right quadrant: Place exemplary performers in the upper right quadrant. Possible needs include coaching and encouragement. One of the characteristics of exemplary performers is a desire to help others. They could provide coaching and mentoring for new employees and inspiration for those who need motivation.

Lower right quadrant: We often find tenured employees in the lower right quadrant. Possible needs include motivation and coaching. They have institutional memory, knowledge, and skills that can be very important to the team. They may find it motivating to coach or mentor others. Engage them appropriately.

Lower left quadrant: Low performers pose a special dilemma. Have you invested too much time, energy, and resources trying to bring them up to speed? Are they on a performance plan? Should you give them another go or should you let them go?

Upper left quadrant: We typically find new hires in this quadrant. They are highly motivated but lack knowledge and skills. They need education, training, and coaching. Their enthusiasm can be contagious and might serve as motivation for others.

Managers, take charge of your employees’ development. Here are some ways to engage.

  • Source training resources yourself or participate in the interview process.
  • Elicit feedback from trainers and facilitators regarding your employees’ participation and progress.
  • Expect an oral or written summary from your employees regarding their lessons learned. Perhaps they could share what they learned with others. Teach-backs are a great way to reinforce learning.
  • Evaluate new skill proficiency on the job, in the field, and in front of customers.

Setting expectations before training and receiving feedback following training communicates the importance of the event. It also demonstrates your commitment to their development and your investment in their success. This is a great way to begin holding people accountable.

You can use the Performance Grid to track progress during the year. As employees increase knowledge and improve skills, move them forward on the skills scale. As they demonstrate increased desire and motivation, move them up the motivation scale. Out ultimate goal is to move everyone toward the upper right, exemplary quadrant.

Future blog posts related to holding people accountable include behavioral styles, motivation, trust, leadership, and emotional intelligence. The How to Achieve Business Accountability series provides a foundation upon which to build. I hope you follow the steps and benefit from the exercises. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. Also, I’d love to hear about your successes using the system. mitzieadams@thebusinessofaccountability.com.

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