Just to recap, our last commentary on the core values and themes of the workplace took us deeper into understanding the significance of teamwork. This time, let’s look at another foundation of any stable and successful business organization.
THE THIRD CONSTANT: ACCOUNTABILITY
With cooperation inside an organization, it’s easy for individual and collective roles to become mixed up. The sensibility to trace whoever is responsible for what is the basis of the value of accountability.
How does accountability profoundly impact the way professionals work?
Accountability can help individuals or teams receive due recognition. This is important for considering accomplishment-based rewards, such as pay raises, promotions or other employee incentives. Without properly identifying those responsible for certain achievements, recognition and rewards may be given to those who had only superficial or even no involvement.
This is also true for the opposite of recognition. Without accountability, disciplinary bodies may have difficulty with properly identifying and sanctioning offending employees or units. Worse, a lack of accountability on the part of the offenders may indicate their tendency to pin the responsibility on others who were not involved. Highly responsible people will face the consequences of their actions without excuses or attempts to involve anyone else.
Finally, accountability is vital to problem solving. Employees who make mistakes are also the ones most familiar about the causes and surrounding circumstances, making them uniquely equipped to initiate corrective action. This doesn’t automatically mean that people responsible for mess-ups are supposed to solve them on their own; the very fact that they failed means that they couldn’t get the job done alone, let alone correct it. Therefore, instead of abandoning an employee or a team that made a mistake, any company should commit full support to them and collaborate with them to solve the problem.
All of these merits of accountability hinge on proper documentation. Regular progress, accomplishment and incident reports may seem like annoying paperwork, but they are the most direct way that any organization can establish the accountability of its members. Of course, the very act of filling in a report requires accountability; anyone who fabricates information on any report cannot be considered a responsible professional.
To tie this all together, accountability is how professionals in any setting define and take ownership of roles. To illustrate that, we’d like to end our commentary on accountability with this popular anonymous story:
“This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”