Who, Me? Accountability for Contractors Part 3: The Accountability Life Cycle
Service Excellence Training
Everything has a beginning. And everything has an end. Or does it?
Last month we examined the difference between accountability and responsibility. Accountability, we determined, has a bit of a negative connotation when you are the one being “held accountable”. How does that impact our employees, and ourselves?
First, when we set goals, we are initially outlining the elements of accountability. These goals keep us as managers focused on what is most important for the overall success of our company. And they keep our team members on task and motivated to achieve their own individual objectives.
Most products have life cycles. They typically begin with Emergence, where a product is first introduced. Here is where the product is fairly new, like the original plasma televisions, when they cost $10,000 or more. Next is Growth. Here is where a product begins to gain popularity and the price, while still high, becomes more reasonable. Then comes the Maturity stage. During maturity, the product enjoys wide appeal, is usually mass marketed, and the price falls into a very affordable range (much like flat screen TV’s are today). Finally, products will typically go through the Decline stage. Here is where sales drop off and the company must make a decision to either harvest (sell the company or division) that makes the product, cease production or reinvent it altogether and start again.
Now what can we learn from these product life cycles? Well, when we examine accountability we see that there are stages, much like product life cycles have.
Let’s look at them:
Emergence: here is where goals are set. These goals should be well defined and rooted in the overall goals of the company. For example: each team member’s goals should be directly tied to support those of their superiors or the company in general. This is early in the accountability life cycle.
- Growth: here is where the team member who has received his or her goals embraces them (or in some instances, pays them lip service). If the goals are embraced, true growth of the person will occur. If not, the accountability life cycle will be very short lived and the goals will have to be passed on to someone else.
- Maturity: much like it sounds, this is what happens when someone accepts responsibility for the fact that he or she must be held accountable for what is done, or not done, in a given day. When we accept and embrace our own accountability we, and our team, grow as people. When that happens, we are on the path to success as individuals and as an organization.
- Decline: this word sounds bad, but it’s not. The life cycle of accountability never really ends, but the level of accountability does decline. Then it gives way to a new life cycle all over again. A classic example is when an employee succeeds in achieving goals over a period of time and you as a manager realize that this individual needs additional responsibility and opportunities to grow. So you either promote the team member or offer them a greater role within the company.
Then an entirely new accountability life cycle begins.
As you evaluate your team members in the future, consider placing them on a “life cycle” curve. It will give you a deeper understanding of where they are now and how far they have to go until that “next step” is possible within your company.
About Service Excellence Training Service Excellence Training (SET), www.serviceexcellencetraining.com, was founded with the purpose of guiding the independent contractor through the uncertainty of larger competitive environments and helping them to operate their businesses with greater control and predictability. Founded in 2010, SET has more than tripled its number of contractor clients and is offering a greater number of courses in 2012. For more information on the “accountability life cycle”, visit www.serviceexcellencetraining.com.