Three Steps Necessary for Inspiring Accountability and Productivity

October 1 2012, By , No Comments

It doesn’t matter the position you hold or the industry you call home – a highly accountable and productive workforce is something everyone in every business should strive for.  Have you ever wished that all you needed to do in order to achieve such a level of motivation amongst your associates, team members or, even business partners, was to just ask for it?

Imagine a meeting with the entire company present.  You stand before them and proclaim in a very serious and “no kidding” kind of way, “Okay everyone, I need you all to be more accountable and productive… I really mean it… thank you!”  As you take your seat you can just feel the new found work ethic oozing from everyone in the room – your job is done.

The problem is… it’s just not that easy.  It is one of the most difficult tasks any company or organization has to contend with.  Some of the most challenging and time consuming problems in business are people problems.  Because people produce the work and are the business, it just makes sense to create a culture where people problems are minimal.

If simply requesting that people become accountable and productive doesn’t result in the work ethic we are looking for… what does?  The following are three steps that leaders must take:

  1. First, become empathetic by realizing that the people who make-up your company or organization are always asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?”  Metaphorically, put yourself into their skin and you will discover the things that are most important to them – what makes them who they are.
  2.  Second, depending upon what you discover about each individual in step one, create an environment that provides what your people need and want from their work life.  People will typically be more accountable and productive if they are motivated by cultural factors that influence them to do their best.
  3.  Third, define success for each member of your team.  Let them know how an accountable and productive member of the team performs.  Be specific, descriptive, and be the example.

As you work at creating a culture that values accountability and productivity, also keep in mind that managers can always fall back on demanding compliance.  The problem is that people don’t like to be overly managed, and this approach usually results in a high turnover of employees.

Instead of managers who manage-on-demand, develop managers into leaders who inspire others to be accountable and productive.  Leaders do this by following principles that allow others to see themselves as more than just an employee completing a task.  Learning to lead in this way begins with an understanding that leadership is the art of influence, and influential leaders are successful leaders.

Once again, imagine standing before everyone in your company or organization, only this time you are focused on each individual.  You have an appreciation for what makes them “tick” and have a genuine interest in each of their individual stories.  This time you know the answer to the question that everyone is asking themselves… “What’s in it for me?”

By answering this fundamental question from your audience’s perspective, you will be well on your way to enjoying a culture that inspires your entire organization to become more accountable and productive.  When your people see their work as a fulfillment of who they are, and believe that it is in their best interest to do it well, they want to be more accountable and productive.  With the right culture in place, doing one’s best… is what’s in it for them.

About the Author:

Tom Pandola is a Leadership Trainer and Consultant delivering real word leadership principles to individuals, business teams and organizations. After 25 years with the LAFD and serving as a captain and battalion chief, Tom moved on to business leadership positions and discovered how the same principles that allowed him to successfully lead others to navigate the dangers and challenges of firefighting and rescue operations, also produces success in everyday business.

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