Accountability – Establish It and Become Fit for Success


To survive in the most challenging business climate we’ve ever experienced, we’ve gotten “lean and mean.” We’ve downsized, reorganized, cut costs, and struggled to manage our working capital. We’ve had to make tough decisions and hard choices to survive. Now, it’s time to build the muscle in our businesses. We need to put smart practices in place to ensure our organizations are “Fit for Success.” What it requires is accountability.

What Accountability Looks Like

It’s a concentrated effort from every employee to be responsible for a positive result in every task, project, and every interaction with customers and coworkers. Is it easy to establish accountability? No. Is it possible? Absolutely. And it’s worthwhile.

Establishing an accountability culture in your business will give you a competitive edge while increasing your opportunities for long-term business growth. Communicate the importance of accountability and help your people understand its meaning.

Define Accountability
In simple terms, accountability means that employees will do what needs to be done and take ownership for their role in the process. Ideally, they will act as though your company is their company and practice “entrepreneurial thinking.” They will step up to the plate and do what needs to be done. They will work together as a team, will be supportive of one another, and display initiative beyond their job description. Most important, they will agree to work together for the betterment of your organization and understand that they are not only to answer to management for their performance, but also to each other. They will also hold each other accountable for their attitude, as well as their level of performance.

A prime example of this comes from one of my clients – a successful equipment distributor who won an Award for Customer Service Excellence from their manufacturer. This smart and profitable company compiles a list of everything their people should be accountable for. Where does this list come from? Their employee, of course. They recognize that Employee Involvement is what makes organizations “fit for success,” as people tend to “buy-into” and promote what they, themselves help to create.

Here’s another example that comes from the Service Department, “We agree to practice our core value of “Safety” by locking out and tagging out any equipment that may be unsafe.” Here’s one from the Parts Department, “We agree to be accountable to never turn away any business, unless we are absolutely sure we cannot provide it.” From the whole company, “We agree to make every effort to answer the phone by the third ring.” “We agree to do all we can to support our sales team.”

Here’s another example of how one of my banking clients in the Midwest practices accountability. They not only have a list of specifics they agree to be accountable for, but every department grades the other regularly on courtesy and customer service -including internal customer service. The department with the highest score is recognized and rewarded. They also tally the overall score for the bank– then challenge each other to raise the score higher each time. This helps sustain the momentum of “accountability” as well as a “service excellence” culture.

Steps to Establish Accountability

1) Define the meaning of accountability to your staff and ask them what it means to them.

2) Clarify the areas in which people will be held accountable. Expectations must be stated in a specific and clearly differentiating manner. To accomplish this, define precisely whatever old behaviors or attitudes must be abandoned, and what new behaviors must be exhibited on a consistent basis.

3) Be prepared for confrontation and conflict. Many managers prefer to avoid making their subordinates (and themselves) uncomfortable. Failure to confront poor performers or people with negative attitudes can stifle productivity. If people are not held accountable for their job responsibilities and their interaction with managers, customers and coworkers, service excellence cannot exist.

In your efforts to create an accountability culture, keep this in mind: You will never succeed if your people are not made to feel valued by being treated well. Management must be accountable to display dynamic leadership and treat their employees as well as their best customers. Treat them with respect and appreciate their efforts on a daily basis. Then, you will be able to sustain the momentum for the accountability you need to build the muscle in your company.


Need help? We can provide a workshop to help you to establish “Sales-Service Excellence Culture” where accountability is just one area we cover.


Photo Courtesy of (Kevin Krejci) – Flickr

Need a speaker on this topic?
Visit to learn more.
Or, let’s brainstorm! Call (847) 581-9968.
to learn how Christine can partner with you to make your next
meeting, conference, or workshop a huge success.


About Christine Corelli

Christine Corelli is a motivational, keynote, business, leadership, sales, and customer service speaker, sales trainer, and author of six business books. As a keynote speaker, she is known for her high energy and interactive speaking style.

Speak Your Mind


four × three =