May 1, 2018

How to Hold People Accountable: Part 1

Organizational Effectiveness

Have you noticed that your seemingly quick and efficient standing meetings don’t seem to produce the follow-through that you’re expecting? Does everyone nod and agree as people are talking, but when the deadline comes around the work is not done? Knowing how to hold people accountable can revolutionize a company's efficiency and effectiveness.

One of the most important aspects of business is the ability to commit to and follow through on promises. You are held accountable for results. Therefore, your team needs to be accountable for their promises as well.

How to hold people accountable: Part 1 - Good meeting hygiene

  • Begin each meeting with a quick review of all previous actions. One minute per action owner.
  • Your agenda should have a purpose and an intended outcome.
  • Make sure action owners specify the schedule and expected result.
  • Identify the root cause of the need for an action before assigning it.
  • Avoid the activity trap by always focusing on the intended result.
  • Recap the action items and remove as many as possible.

These are vital parts of making sure you’re running an efficient meeting. It must be productive and quick. Make sure to hit on every action item without spending too much time on any of them.

Everything you talk about, and everything you assign, should contribute to your team’s objective. If you don’t know why you’re assigning a task, stop. If nothing else, table it for the next meeting.

Make sure the majority of items on your list get completed each week. Standing meetings should be focused on accomplishable tasks as much as possible. Concentrate on breaking up the larger objectives into the manageable tasks


These concepts may seem obvious or elementary to some, but can easily be overlooked without a concerted effort to take them into consideration. Communication that establishes shared expectations underpins the accountability that fuels organizational success.


Please check out Part 2, which explores how to hold employees accountable from the facilitator's perspective.


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Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.

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