Talk is not an accomplishment. It is typically what people do in lieu of an accomplishment. The more accomplishment-minded people in an organization are, the less they have to talk about. Consider these thoughts.
- The less people achieve, the more need they feel to talk about it.
- Communication fills the void left by having no clear purpose, or by failing to accomplish what needed to be accomplished.
- Much if not most communication in organizations is in lieu of accomplishment. Or it may simply be as irrelevant as are the people who engage in it as a substitute for purposeful performance.
Accountability means owning the outcome - not the talk. Accountability requires the competencies required to accomplish what needs accomplishing, and for avoiding those consequences that ought not to occur. To develop a high-performance organization, accountability is the tool that you, as the leader, must wield. You are, and the people in your organization must be:
- accountable for statements made.
- accountable for the promises that were made to anyone inside or outside the organization.
- accountable for an implicit promise.
- accountable for every accomplishment you and they sign on to, explicitly or implicitly, and for the ramifications of whatever occurs as a result of your or their failure to perform.
- accountable for developing all of the competencies required to accomplish what you have signed on to accomplish.
There is no accountability where there are no consequences for failing to accomplish what was agreed to. An excuse is the opposite of accountability. Every hour of every day there are "Moments of Truth" in every organization, as Jan Carlzon (then head of SAS) wrote some years back. In the outcomes of those moments of truth, there is either accountability or there is not. Making it necessary for people to be accountable is simply indispensable to making a high-performance organization.