Starting accountability can be tough. Sustaining accountability is more difficult. Over the years, I have found that organizations can start to achieve accountability by being transparent. What does being transparent have to do with being accountable? A lot. An organization has to be transparent before it can be accountable.
Let me define what I mean by being transparent. For the purposes of this post, I am defining “being transparent” as making one’s actions and the corresponding results of those actions visible by others. In the business world, others is often synonymous with peers, teammates, subordinates, clients, prospects, investors, bankers, or managers to name a few. In our personal life, others might be our kids, relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
Simple enough. To be transparent, we let others see our actions and the results. Most people would shrug their shoulders and agree. No big deal, right? People want transparency so they can see what other people are doing and what results they are generating. They want to be able to help them by telling them what they are doing wrong, and what they need to change. People feel better because attention is redirected from what they are not doing to what everyone else is doing. Transparency should apply to everyone else.
So how does being transparent get started in an organization? It starts with the individual at the top. Once the leader in the organization holds himself accountable, and starts holding others accountable, the rest of the organization follows. Being transparent is something everyone in the organization has to do. We have to be willing to allow others to see what we are doing and what the results are. Transparency can take many forms. Department and company meetings, Kanban boards, sales pipelines, and company financial statements are a start. But they are just that: a start.
Thanks for coming in today.