by Jim Vaughan

Project Accountability

Oct 12, 2009
IT Leadership

Holding People to Account Will Increase Your Organization’s Togetherness

I have noticed lately that organizations no longer seem to hold people to account. When someone misses a deadline they typically have some excuse and everyone will forgive and even feel sorry for the person who failed to meet their objective. I admit that I am not a very empathetic person but I am sympathetic to real needs. I do take accountability for my own actions and probably hold myself to account more than others hold ME to account.

Many organizations deliver late causing lost market share or even complete failure for their organizations. Millions of dollars are spent and corporations have nothing to show for the effort. Projects get late one week at a time, one day at a time and one minute at a time. Much of this tardiness is the result of the simple fact that organizations tolerate tardiness. Organizations do not hold people to account and therefore allow schedules to slip.

Back when I was at Motorola, and we were operating at our peak performance, we were all held to account. If you missed a date you were called out on to the carpet. We all held one another to account. If anyone I worked with in those days is reading I would like to thank you for holding me accountable. I would like to thank you for calling me out on the carpet.

You see, my friends, holding one another accountable did not separate us from one another, rather it made us closer. I remember some very tough conversations and ill feelings that were had during those days. But I will take those tough talks and ill feelings over watching a project delay and delay only to be buried over in the company landfill. The tremendous feeling of accomplishment and the relationships I built were well worth any pain I might have suffered.

Contrary to what you might think, holding one another accountable and working through problems actually strengthens relationships. It is much like being in a family that has certain expectations of each member. In fact I often felt like the people I worked with were family. Those relationships that were built continue to live on.

Next time I will provide a method for holding others to account.