Excellence Demands Accountability

This is a story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure 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 that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

– Unknown

Many work places allow individual performances to hinder the organization from ever do something great. The employees do notice when the leader doesn’t hold them accountability for carrying their load. In many cases, it because the leader doesn’t have the back bone to address the issue. If I overlook it – then it will go away. Other co-workers won’t address it with the leader because past history tells them that it won’t change the situation.

However – Excellence always requires doing the common things – uncommonly well. There are 5 specific steps to holding employees accountable for excellence.

Step one – Clearly define the expectations and assign who has the responsibility– Employees have to know what you expect. Directions should be very clear on how you define success for each role. Excellence means pushing the limits to get better. You usually get what you expect.

Step twoDefine the Big picture – tell why accountability is important to reaching excellence, ask the group for ways to get there. This involvement helps to create buy-in. A leader should be open to discuss any stress points that create barriers to staff morale. You should tune in to your staff and listen. In many cases, the group ownership is the key to making it happen.

Step three– Integrate a new change –Keep in mind – no direction will gain 100% support. Taking action, good training, and positive feedback are the keys in bring lasting change. Excellence is a habit – so what you repeat usually determines your position.

Step 4 – Measure it – there is always evidence if things are getting better. When a team of people commit to excellence in their work, the people they serve usually notice and it can be measured. This feedback provides motivation. I remember the first time I flew Southwest Airlines and the flight crew brought an entertainment attitude in serving the passengers during the trip. This simple form of humor and extra energy put everyone on the plane in a great mood because we knew they care about what they did.

Step five – Recognize improvement & success, and always give credit for improved performance – Make sure they know when they meet the new standard. This feedback will reinforce that it will be repeated. Others will notice the level of performance that is expected and will adjust their work to try to meet it. You usually get the level of work that you expect. However – some employees will challenge the rules. It is important to have clear support for any action of correction from your immediate supervisor. If they allow exceptions by not showing support for excellence – it will be difficult to reach this level.

You may realize that your employees don’t have the same commitment and they may not be living up to the company’s expectations. Becoming the change you want to see is important to setting the right tone. Leaders must lead by example. It wasn’t until I began to show them how important their work was and to get them to see their real potential that I was able to drive success and overall accountability within my team. When they feel connected – they usually perform at a higher level. Employees who need ongoing corrections become liability to the company and your leadership. Spend your time coaching the rising stars and get rid of the falling stars.

What is one ways to get the attention of an employee who is performing below your expectations and their ability?

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