Creating a Culture of Accountability – Quick Tip

What is the best thing to do when you’re team is not meeting their goals and cannot hold one another accountable?

Management Challenge

This was the main problem that the new HR manager for a large Colorado government agency was facing. During our strategy session he told me that the crews working out in the field were having more and more safety issues, including fatalities that needed to be addressed immediately. The workforce was highly disengaged and demoralized because they were spread thin and overworked, and were doing just the minimum amount to get along and go along. This manager was frustrated because everyone seemed to be pointing fingers at everyone else. To top it off, they had a hierarchical military style chain of command in place with regular turnover in the executive staff. So the structural issues impacting safety would be hard to change.

Recommendation – DiSC Assessment

So we recommended starting with a half day basic leadership training for over 250 of the front line supervisors on DiSC personality style, and then follow up with another half day of accountability training. We figured it was up to the supervisors to spearhead the changes to improve safety. Our DiSC assessment showed that the majority of the supervisors had either a dominant or conscientious personality style which created a task oriented team culture of “get er done!”.  HR acknowledged the culture of “No Whining” and – “Why do I need to give somebody praise when they are just doing their job?”.

So we started our trainings the way we always do – using Kurt Lewin’s three-step method, beginning with unfreezing the group by openly discussing the problem and agreeing on the behavior change, then introducing the new tool to address the problem, and finally refreezing the new behavior change into the group with accountability. We brainstormed on the problems with leadership in the work place, and agreed on the top 3 to work on.  Then we discussed the qualities of good leaders they had experienced in their lives, from teachers, coaches, religious leaders, military leaders, and we noticed that 90% of the positive characteristics had to do with emotional intelligence. And this is how we got buy in to shift away from purely task-oriented leadership to try a more people-oriented leadership style.

Continued Training

From there we trained them to use QBQ, the question behind the question, which is a simple but powerful communication tool developed by John Miller that transforms negative complaints into positive requests for action. The basic idea is to re-frame a negative complaint like “why won’t you send me more support out in the field when we are spread too thin?” to “what can I do too create more support for our frontline workers and improve safety? “

I could see the lightbulbs going off and hear the enthusiasm start to catch fire as we listed all their complaints and created new positive questions for them to take up the chain of command. Dominant personality styles love QBQ because D’s love to be in action and hold accountability. We ended the training by creating accountability buddies and smart goals.

Organizational Training Results Achieved

So the front line supervisors started to really engage with the middle managers with new ideas regarding safety and work assignments and the allocation of resources.  And that was great. But they quickly experienced the brick wall. The middle managers did not know how to respond – other than to say that’s not how we do it around here – fill out a form and send it somewhere else – and the supervisors became frustrated. They requested the training for the 85 middle managers, and so we put 85 middle managers through the same training along with the new hires. Three years later, HR reports the team is now highly engaged and regularly use the QBQ. The organization has tracked a dramatic reduction in safety incidents, higher productivity, and higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction.

So if you’re team is having a problem not meeting their goals and holding one another accountable we can help. We have a two minute team assessment that you can take on our website  Then schedule your 20 minute strategy session with us online and we will discuss what’s going on with your team and develop a training program that is proven to increase your productivity, profitability and job satisfaction. If you meet with us today, we will send you a proposal tomorrow. Don’t Delay – Do Something Different – We Can Help.

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