I have written on the benefits of accountability for the last 17 years. No one would argue the truth of any of those benefits. In fact, you can’t have a profitable business without a healthy business culture, and you can’t have a healthy business culture without accountability. But, that’s not our biggest challenge.
Our biggest challenge is in recognizing the symptoms of the lack of accountability clearly enough so we can take action. I see far too many business owners suffering from some version of these dysfunctions, and feeling powerless to do anything about it.
In his book “The Five Dysfunctions of Teams,” Patrick Lencioni does a very good job of distinguishing five traps that organizations fall into. Where he and I disagree is what to do about it. While he has building accountability as merely one of the steps, I see it as the main ingredient driving everything. The reason is, accountability drives reporting, which creates a focus on results, which drives up issues and problems, leading to the discussions to solve problems, which allows for commitment to actions/solutions.
We both agree it’s not easy, and there are plenty of places this can get derailed, but every push you make in this direction will bring great rewards.