Are some of your staff, laser focused on creating success in their own patch, essentially choosing to serve the part over the whole?
In doing so, they place constraints on the achievement of group results and we’re familiar with the undermining symptoms of this narrow-sighted ethos.

We’re looking at: the blame game, denial, the blind eye, the ball drop, withholding information or truth, being reactive at crisis-point rather than proactive at causal-point, lack of collaboration and engagement, and/or a general unwillingness to serve outside of the specific KPIs of one’s own role.

In fairness, most of us could admit to engaging in these behaviours ourselves at times, but if any of this conduct becomes embedded in team members as a long-term way of being, business results will strongly reflect it.

Call it ethos, attitude, culture or code, we’re dealing with the testing challenge of shifting an employee’s work principles and beliefs. But according to the authors of recent bestseller Crucial Accountability, the effort involved in coaxing staff toward a stronger commitment to answerability for team results, can be a significant triumph.

In the book, they share a VitalSmarts case study stating that, “When an IT group improved crucial accountability practices by 22%, quality improved over 30%, productivity climbed almost 40%, and costs plummeted almost 50%, all while employee satisfaction swelled 20%”. Following are five suggestions for ways to help your staff to ‘release the parking brake’ and move forward in sync to achieve team objectives, like a well-oiled machine.

  1. Shift their ‘working business model’

    Use your inspirational presentation powers to create a compelling message around the fact that the practices of collaboration and accountability are the new ‘sexy’.

    Help them set aside the competition to reign as performer-supreme. Demonstrate that a team member now ‘stars’ with a more holistic mindset – one that engenders group trust, a personal sense of responsibility to outcomes, shared commitment to strategic goals, openness to feedback, and the courage to hold both self and others answerable.

  2. Create an environment of trust

    To support the above paradigm, set expectations for team engagement that is non-judgemental, accepting, respectful yet honest. When team members feel safe, they will ‘share’; contributing ideas, suggestions and feedback without fearing hidden agendas, ridicule, cynicism or one upmanship.

  3. Encourage robust engagement

    Generate round-table, solution-focused conversation to ensure the distribution of knowledge. Having one’s ideas heard and considered, inspires personal investment in any eventual strategic plan of action agreed upon.

  4. Provide strategic clarity

    The team needs to know exactly what it is they are going to be accountable to. Make it your responsibility to clarify in detail, the desired end result of any plan of action, decision or goal.

  5. Set ground rules

    Request a commitment to the specific actions, work values and attitudes that will ensure that outcomes envisioned come to fruition, placing team results over egoistic needs.

Encouraging commitment to a culture of collaboration, trust, accountability, responsiveness and pride in group-accomplishment, will help transform the solo performer to valued contributor and everyone wins.