10 Secrets to Creating a Culture of Individual Accountability and Execution

ref: 10 Secrets to Creating a Culture of Individual Accountability and Execution

The article talks about four stages of cultural transformation through which an organization goes in order to execute a plan.

  • Culture of collaboration: At this stage shared vision and culture of collaboration is developed among senior management.  It is important that don’t get satisfied with this activity, as very little is being accomplished at this stage.  We’ve just begun to do the right things, and the outcomes are yet to be achieved.
  • Culture of individual accountability:  This stage is very important as it makes the plan actionable and ties vision to goal.  It itself is made up of three components
    • Measurable outcomes: A lot depends what matrices are chosen.  Decision making can be only so good.  It is necessary that middle managers involved with creating matrices are well informed both about strategic vision and ground realities.  It becomes incumbent on the leadership to promote the former.  For the latter, the managers will have to take the lead.
    • Aligning deliverables with strict due dates with the annual performance objectives: Here it is important that senior leadership sits down and work with the middle managers.  It is important that both are on same page.
    • Transparency: Everybody in management should have access to all plans and updates.
  • Culture of execution: The transition from culture of accountability to that of execution requires two steps. First, the developed strategy should cover all the critical steps. Secondly, it should be convey to each and every employee. That way they’ll be able to understand how their performance is aligned with the greater strategic vision of the organization.
  • Culture of innovation: This is the final stage where employees begin to identify problems themselves, observe change brought about by improvement steps and their input becomes critical to ongoing efforts. At this stage it is important for senior managers to keep their employee engaged and motivated.

Here are the secrets to moving towards culture of accountability and execution

  1. Decide what really matters: Generally healthcare organization follow a structured planning process. It has its own downside, especially when too much has been loaded on the process. The impression then goes around that the process is more important that the outcome. We should be careful not to overload the system, as its then it will allow minor adjustments during the way.
  2. A plan that is 70% correct is acceptable: It should be like a half-planned trip that allows for minor impromptu stops or deviations. It’s impossible to make a perfect plan at the outset.
  3. Keep goals clear and directions simple: Goals should be easy to comprehend by all, such that they can understand how they responsibilities are linked to them. And along with it you require open two way communication. You won’t want an environment of hearsay.
  4. Assign objectives, strategies and tactics to individuals owners with firm due dates: Well accountability can be at the team level, and it is just fine. But, to further the culture of execution, individual responsibility is a must. I believe that’s how most organization already works.
  5. Measure outcomes, not processes: We should first decide upon the outcomes before we go about setting matrices.
  6. Align incentives to performance: It is important that incentives be linked to accomplishment of tangible goals and not routine work. They are linked to overachievement, e.g. greater patient safety outcomes than planned, greater budgetary savings.
  7. Review execution at least monthly, preferably weekly: The speed of execution and collective accountability reflects on how often you review. At the same time it is important that the review process should become a burden. Automated dashboard is one way of having information accessible without much executive time spent on it.
  8. Give your team a dedicated time to execute: It needs to be understood that meeting only take stock of the situation, and execution is done outside the meetings. So, there needs to be a balance, and the team members should be given adequate time to execute. In fact, there is no harm if meeting is cancelled if there is nothing much to share.
  9. Push execution to the front lines: It is very important to engage the frontline staff about how their routine work is so important and is linked to greater strategic vision. A good example would be a senior executive addressing the infection control staff about how patient safety is so closely related to what they consider as mundane work.
  10. Align mission, vision and strategy: Finally, mission, vision and strategy should be linked like a tight chain. All loose ends need to be identified and fixed.
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