accountability culture

What is an accountability culture anyway? Why do I need one?

These are the questions that every leader should examine very early in their career. Having an accountability culture is the cornerstone to a successful business.

“An accountability culture is the collective understanding and expectation within an organization that every team member aligns to its’ success. Alignment occurs through visions, missions, goals, strategies, and tasks both in their team and individual roles.”

In other words, everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, and how it contributes to company success. In addition, if someone can’t meet an expectation, they communicate proactively to establish a new plan of action to achieve the goal.


First of all, it’s how you get stuff done! If you can’t count on your people to meet expectations regularly, your business won’t succeed. Here are ten more reasons:

1) Employee engagement is increased.

Gallup research shows that employees are 3.6 times more likely to feel engaged when employees are involved in setting their individual goals. In addition, people are much more likely to be engaged when they are clear on what’s expected of them.

accountability culture2) The earnings are higher for businesses that have an accountability culture.

Companies that increased the number of talented managers and doubled their employee engagement rate enjoyed 147% higher profits than their counterparts.

3) There is lower turnover.

Seventy-eight percent of employees who received feedback, a key accountability factor, were not actively looking for a job.

4) People are clear on expectations and when they need to be delivered.

When there is an accountability culture, expectations are crystal clear with definitions of success and due dates. There are no ambiguities, and communications are reliable when they need to shift a plan.

5) There’s less confusion and time wasted.

When people are clear on expectations, they can efficiently deliver. There’s less time spent in meetings, re-work due to miscommunications, and finger-pointing because of failures.

6) It’s easier for managers and leaders to plan and grow their teams.

When a leader has a robust accountability process in place that works effortlessly, they don’t need to spend a lot of time fixing problems. Leaders can immediately focus on planning for business success and the professional development of their people.

7) Leaders experience less stress.

Poor accountability cultures can suck the life out of a leader and a team. Taking your valuable leadership time to chase down poor performances and re-arrange expectations is inefficient and causes undue stress. An accountability culture eliminates or at least reduces the need for leadership micromanagement when things go wrong.

8) Leaders have more time to spend on solving business problems rather than people problems.

By having a robust accountability process and culture in place, there’s less conflict. Everyone knows what’s expected of them and what to do if they can’t meet those expectations. There are no surprises. The accountability culture allows leaders to truly focus on what’s essential rather than putting out fires every day.

9) Poor performers don’t last long.

When you have a strong accountability culture, it’s evident what happens when people repeatedly miss expectations. Those people either self-select out of the organization or are quickly identified to be coached out. They may not be the right fit for the job.

10) Your team of high performers is highly motivated.

One of the biggest demotivators for moderate and high performers is seeing accountability ignored in the workplace. If you don’t hold others accountable, your high performers wonder why they are busting their butts for you. Lack of accountability can be a fast-growing cancer in your business.

Moreover, setting the accountability culture always starts with top leadership.

For more information about how to incorporate accountability into your culture, see the following resources:

Accountability: The SIMPLE Model

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Lynn Zettler is an Executive and Leadership Coach specializing in helping to create amazing leaders with excellent communication skills, exemplary accountability cultures, and impactful strategic plans.

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