Foster Accountability from an OD Lens

At AJC, we help our clients visualize and blaze the trail towards greater accountability for individual and collective performances. We also work hard to exemplify this value in our own work.

The following article is a contribution by AJC’s Organizational Development Consultant, Terry Smith

Organizational development operates as a consultant alongside the leadership of the org to positively affect and support the growth objectives of the company and the people who work within it.  One of the primary mechanisms for driving that growth is to create and implement systems for corporate accountability.

At AJC, our third core value is fostering accountability.  We help our clients visualize and blaze the trail towards greater accountability for individual and collective performance.  The distinction of individual and collective performance is an important point.  Traditional thinking tends to lean toward accountability of individuals to organizational performance standards and achievement of professional goals and objectives.  Drawing from our discussion about servant leadership, though, we see the same level of accountability at the collective or organizational level to the employee as a necessary return. 

Leaders who understand the give and take of the employment relationship foster accountability amongst themselves to their staff. 

Leaders are wholly accountable to their teams for the success of their operational piece of the mission. Highly accountable leaders foster more effective work systems for their staff because they hold themselves and each other accountable for results. 

This view of accountability necessitates understanding that people are motivated intrinsically as well as extrinsically, to varying degrees based on their life experiences and backgrounds.  While the argument can be made that there are those among us who are high-extrinsic, a deeper dive into the context of that high extrinsic motivation typically reveals more intrinsic factors.  Understanding this nuance and developing methods for encouraging performance based on those factors is a key differentiating factor for many organizations. 

Understanding that even people with high extrinsic motivation also have intrinsic motivators allows leaders to develop methods for encouraging performance based on unique factors for different individuals.

AJC aligns our own work around the same fostering of accountability.  As a team being equally accountable to each other, our overall practice is stronger and more capable of delivering the results and building the trusting relationships that ensure long-term strategic value for our clients.  Using tools such as Leadership Assessments, “Full Circle” (or 360) Evaluations, Working Genius, and competency profiles, to name a few, AJC helps organizations to identify leadership strengths and opportunities that can further solidify our clients’ capacity for accountability, and, by extension, success.

For some additional reading on fostering accountability, Andrew Robertson and Nate Dvorak, writing for Gallup in 2019, have provided thought-provoking perspective