Sapience Employee Engagement
Blog | 08.06.2015

Work isn’t Alcoholic Anonymous, but…

Work isn’t alcoholics anonymous but accountability is still the key to success. Here are 6 themes that can help you define a culture of accountability.


Accountability is built on clearly stated expectations that empower ownership and in doing so create the right outcomes in a planned manner. However, before we can hold anyone responsible, we need to know about the decisions and actions that are occurring if we are to have any accountability for them. If we don’t achieve a proper measure of transparency then we can be assured there is no accountability.


Metrics are a tool to help us set expectations and observe results, serving as objective measures of what people are doing, that they can then be held responsible to. Creating a number is the easy part.Do your metrics reflect responsibility and what people have in their direct control? Does the information for your metrics flow to the person who is accountable to them? Is that person getting all the information from the organization that is relevant to achieving those metrics? How can we better inform with data to improve accountability?


Are you giving individuals the tools and information to be accountable? Do individuals in your firm agree that the system of transparency and metrics you have placed them in adequately accounts for their contribution and feel they have control over the metrics? Are you providing recognition for their contribution?

Conquer Fear:

Accountability can be intimidating; transparency is a learned value. Our effectiveness breaks down without accountability but opening our actions up to questioning causes fear and resistance. We need to ensure that we are preparing our organization for improved transparency and explaining the benefits driving the changes. We also need to accept that not everyone is going to be onboard and that is ok.

Overcome entitlement:

Are those at the top more or less accountable to creating value with their work? What parts of your organization lack transparency and resist metrics? Overcoming entitlement to achieve an organization that is accountable from top to bottom is key to conquering fear and creating understanding.

Create a culture of trust:

Assume positive intent. Being accountable can be uncomfortable, and changes may need to be catalyzed within an organization as new metrics are applied to previously unseen variables. We need to ensure that we are giving people the benefit of the doubt and giving them time to adapt to the new reality. Creating a culture of trust is about empowering people with responsibility and giving them a sense of ownership and control over their environment.

Ok, now you tell me: What are some ways you have enhanced accountability to achieve results? Any other questions or strategies that come to mind regarding the topics I mentioned?