- Organizational Development
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Accountability management has become a 21st century management challenge. Every manager is faced with installing and sustaining accountability management but what is it and how is it different from being role responsible? How is it created and sustained and why is it so important? Is it just a buzzword or a critical imperative for governing 4th Industrial Revolution business enterprises?
Being responsible is one thing. Being accountable is something else. To be responsible is to accept ownership of a role, assignment or action. In an organization responsibility is typically communicated through the use of a job description or delegation of a work requirement. Responsibility is measured and judged by a performer of compliance and work completed.
Accountability is different. It is being answerable for the health and welfare of the business enterprise and its employees. In an organization, it means embracing and possessing the self-discipline to systematically and rationally negotiate expectations with customers and learn how to meet their expectations. In addition, accountability is creating and sustaining work processes for meeting expectations, and being transparent and timely in keeping all stakeholders informed and supportive of progress achieved and outcomes produced.
Historically, managers have been more with assigning work responsibility, monitoring and controlling work activity, and evaluating results. However, the timing and dynamics of customer product and service demands have evolved. Contemporary customer demands are much more fluid, complex and ambiguous. Therefore, organizational stakeholders have to be more flexible, innovative and timely. The challenge of defining and meeting these demands has made accountability management a central concern from management communities.
How are organizational stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, etc.) to be held accountable as a servant to the marketplace? Providing job descriptions and assigning and monitoring work activities are insufficient. These historically effective approaches to organizational governance are based on the assumption managerial knowledge and experience are always valid regardless of marketplace dynamics and fickle customer demand. Contemporary business enterprises operate and adapt in the moment with customers. They are required to constantly define and redefine product or service expectations with customers.
Accountability management is about installing the culture needed to constantly support customer and stakeholder learning and change. Responsibility management is about using structure to promote compliance and followship and does not create a shared vision of accountability for a business enterprise. Accountability is all about creating and sustaining the vision, trust, principles, and discipline needed to constantly define opportunity and capture potential through timely collaborative thought and action. Accountability focuses on institutionalizing self-governance as a way of life and a way of conducting business in a flexible, yet consistent manner.