//What does it take to be accountable?

What does it take to be accountable?

2018-06-21T15:10:04+00:00

Want people to be accountable? Then be accountable to them. Encourage people to speak up and not be afraid. Not everything you hear will be good news—but if someone is afraid to speak up, they’ll never embrace being accountable.

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.

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Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

One of the components of developing a caring mindset is accountability.

Accountability is taking responsibility for your actions. It’s the “A” in STAR, and acronym I developed for what it takes to have a caring mindset.

But first, we need to take a step back. You can’t be accountable if you don’t know what’s going on.

You can’t know what’s going on if all you do is sit in your office, review spreadsheets, and commiserate with your peers.

If you want to know what’s going on in your organization – really going on – take a walk.

I tried for weeks to get a manager I was consulting with to connect with his team—things weren’t going well, and no one was being accountable. There was a clear disconnect between himself and his team of engineers. The manager blamed the engineers and vice versa.

“Let’s take a walk,” I told him. “Let’s go and talk to your team.”

I then heard every excuse under the sun – meetings, reports, no time. He finally admitted he wouldn’t know what to say to them.

Can you imagine? A manager who doesn’t know what to say to the people who work for him!

I told him, it’s easy: “Be yourself. Relax, smile, ask questions, and refrain from judging.”

Here’s my point: this manager was focused on processes—what people were doing. He wasn’t focused on the people aspect of problem-solving. He didn’t even know what to say to people.

Achieving exceptional results requires commitment to both processes and people. That’s why you need to get out of your chair and meet with the people who report to you—on their turf, and not in your office.

What someone says in your office doesn’t always reflect what’s really happening on the ground. People are afraid to accept accountability because they become intimidated. Meet them half way, and you’ll see a big difference!

Encourage people to speak up and not be afraid. Not everything you hear will be good news—but if someone is afraid to speak up, they’ll never embrace being accountable. There is a big difference between the action on the battlefield and the action in headquarters, miles behind the lines.

If you want accountability in your organization, make sure your team knows you respect, trust and believe in them.


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What is your difference?

In the past two decades, I have helped countless organizations improve their processes to find greater success. But over the years, something began to haunt me. I noticed that some organizations using the exact same process or methodology realized enormous savings, while others stumbled. I kept wondering, what is the difference?

Fear freezes your ability to be straightforward

When we are scared, nervous, or afraid, we shut out the outside world.  We become less open and transparent. Instead of accepting our true selves, and admitting that we are afraid, we put up a wall designed to keep out the truth.  We make things up to compensate—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. We lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest. Fear can undermine openness and honesty in anyone—including me!

Stop playing games and start gaining trust

A caring mindset is critical to your success, and the success of your organization. And it starts with being straightforward. Being straightforward means you can be tough and exacting, but also honest, direct, candid, transparent, and fair. Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Not always. Let me share a story with you.

When is the last time you said. “I don’t know”?

Being straightforward means you know when to speak up even if you don’t have the answer. When I admit I don’t know something, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn or solve a problem.  In fact, I generally work harder when I don’t know something than when I do.