Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Digital Master Tuning XXIIII : How to Enforce Performance Accountability

Accountability goes hand in hand with delegation of authority or power.

Digital transformation is all about shaping highly performing and highly innovative organizations (Digital Master)  to improve efficiency & effectiveness; agility and maturity. In detail, how do you drive workforce performance, whilst generating accountability for that performance?

Accountability goes hand in hand with delegation of authority or power. Accountability is a part of the personal integrity. If you ensure the individuals have the autonomy within their tasks or projects you will be able to address performance on an equal partnership bases. It seems simple, but it has many different additional advantages encouraging knowledge transfer within the team, engagement and so on.  It’s easier at least to recognize and award it wherever put in place effectively to generate some good result. One must take the long view and may require a core DNA transplant. Designing a performance management system that makes sense for your company depends on many factors, including the nature of your business, your company culture and your mission.

At its core, performance management is about creating a work environment that helps your company meet its business goals. It's more than just a collection of tools and processes, although there are many that can help you meet your goals. It's a philosophy that informs everything you do. When everyone has the same vision, when everyone is treated as a "partner", when communication flows top to bottom and bottom to top, when people no longer say I have a job but a purpose, when management is agile and leadership is about people, and when individuals/teams/ departments are taught to solve daily operational problems, when people can "become brilliant on the basics" and when everyone understands how the business operates - then you will see a workplace with respect, genuine engagement, mutual understanding, trust,optimism, and absolutely the best customer experience management - that is the digital competency.

A process mechanism could be put in place to understand what flaws are in place, impeding a good performance and its improvement. Then identifying for each and any of these main key impediments a pragmatic solution. Identified a list of them from organizational, process/ procedure, people, leadership sides. Just as an example from people side: lack of workforce flexibility (both attitude or know how); interpersonal relationship drift/ issues; aging of know how, experience, position-talent match; engagement trends. Set clear expectations, provide thorough training, track errors, (and retraining when necessary), and reward success.


Performance rises on many fronts based on managers and leaders being on the same page; of course both of these groups need to buy in to high performance culture as well,  and doing several things consistently. there is no single initiative or program or "theme for the year" that will suffice to raise the performance of a company or business unit. For example, you cannot command innovation and adaptation but you can enable, encourage, inspire and even lead. Also, you can't command someone to be creative or adaptive. People must have other intangible performance drivers that get them out of bed each morning and motivate them with ambition and creativity.


Behaving in a trustworthy manner is crucial as well.  Using the forces of respect for every employee, versus fear and punishment. Belief in the high value of both TEAM and EACH PERSON, and profits and performance. This is the long view and takes some courage and faith to develop...but it ultimately releases the highest potential of each employee. Allowing for personal traits that will vary both among the person who delegates and the person delegated to, there are some structural issues with accountability. If one is to hold another accountable (peer or subordinate) for achieving some result,  there is a set of conditions that must be fulfilled in advance on the "receiver" side. Among them - that person must a) be reasonably known to possess the skill/talent needed, b) be provided with the tools and resources necessary to succeed, c) have "during the duration" access to responsive up/down communication, and more. Holding someone accountable is not the same as someone taking responsibility.


Rewards systems are put in place and rewards that are tailored to the individual instead of one-size-fits-all. You can't "drive" performance without mutually accepted goals and expectations. It's almost impossible to measure performance objectively but goals and expectations help. It’s important to tie individual performance in the company to company profits and also company rewards and at the same time had individual performance incentives which were measured against personal goals. This kept all employees working together while at the same time pushed the individual to exceed their personal goals. It was a win win. One of the "obstacles" is not having the same rules for accountability apply everywhere. Recognizing your performers and keeping them motivated along with keeping the average and bottom box performers on toes are two leadership styles you will have to maintain simultaneously.

Digital organizations are flatter, with an “every individual as a stakeholder” culture, through cross-functional collaboration, open door listening, transparency ("we have a problem to solve together") and mutual sharing in successes, the performance accountability can be harnessed via motivating your employees to achieve high than expected result.

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:





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