Part 4 of the Effective ManagersTM Understanding Accountability Series

How can we as managers ensure that we are effective? How do we ensure that our teams are high-performing?

Every organization has to have a strategy in place to meet its business goals. However, without proper execution, many teams end up not following the direction of their strategy by not consistently implementing the executive team’s decisions. Ultimately, they find themselves drifting away from the strategic direction. This can pull the entire organization off course.

To avoid this, organizations need to establish single points of accountability and place them as low in the organization as possible. Single points of accountability are crucial to the success of any company is it demands that the individual acknowledge what their specific accountabilities and authorities. Through single points of accountability, they recognize the distinct outputs required within a specified amount of time and the level of quality and quantity expected of them.

Determining single points of accountability needs to start from the top. Every member of the team, including the CEO, needs to ask themselves what their value-added work is. What are the activities that they are accountable for that will further the purpose of the attainment of the organization’s strategy?

While the CEO or business owner is accountable for delivering the strategic results, she or he can only do so much. This is where delegation comes in. Through clear delegation, the person below the CEO, whether it is a vice president, a manager or a supervisor, will now have their own clearly delegated accountability and authority, and a solid understanding of the context and boundaries within which they much operate

This cycle repeats through the layers of management until every manager has clearly delegated accountability and authority.

However, for delegation to be effective and for teams to be high-performing, this does not mean that a manager relinquishes accountability once tit has been delegates.

Managers, whether the CEO or on the front line, are accountable for their own results, and for the results of their teams..

The biggest mistake a manager can make is to assume that those on their teams “know what to do” and can “just get on with the work”. In fact, managers have a unique perspective of the work that they have gained form their manager, and which must be translated into terms that are appropriate for each of their team members.

To improve performance and for everyone to be productive, the delegation needs to be part of  consistent and clear communication, feedback, and coaching when it’s needed.

Successful delegation involves delegating single points of accountability to an individual who is as low as possible in the organization and has the capabilities and resources for success. Delegation isn’t just about being assigned work from above and passing it down; it requires that each person, no matter what position they’re in, to analyze the work they have been delegated, decide what they must personally do, and then chunk up the rest for appropriate delegation top team members.

Key takeaway

Your key takeaway: For every goal necessary for achieving your strategy, there must be a single point of accountability. The manager who has that single point of accountability must decide whether she or he must do all of the work or a part of it. Once he or she has decided what must be done personally, the rest of the work must be “chunked up” and “delegated down”. Whatever the decision, the Single Point fo Accountability manager is accountable for the results.

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Delegating Work – Part 4 in the Accountability Series

This short video discusses delegating work down the organization. It introduces the concept of the single point of accountability, and the two most common mistakes that are made when delegating work. Learn how you can use accountability to improve performance.

This video is Part 3 in the Effective ManagersTM Understanding Accountability

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