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I checked Webster’s Dictionary to find the difference between “accountability” and “responsibility.” Frustratingly, Webster’s defines each word using the other. Not Helpful. And, if you want better accountability in your shop, your clarity about what accountability means is required. So, what can you do?
Generally speaking, simple is more easily actionable than complicated, which is why the Ritz-Carlton Hotels have a super-simple definition of accountability:
Whoever touches it first owns it.
That means that the first Ritz employee to touch a guest issue is the flag bearer to ensure that the guest’s needs are fulfilled all the way to his/her satisfaction. Everyone from the CEO to the lowest paid employee of the Ritz lives by that simple rule. And it works. Stay in one of their hotels and you’ll experience it in action.
A CEO in one of my executive roundtables described accountability for his company this way:
We do what we say we’re going to do
the way we say we’ll do it
when we say we’ll do it.
Simple, easy to understand and it’s easy to make it stick.
Unless you tell the people who look to you for leadership what accountability looks like, they have to make up their own definition – and their description might not match yours. So, if you want people to be accountable, start by telling them how accountability works in your shop. And live it yourself.
Framing accountability is one of the most common “I want to learn more” requests that I receive following my Fully Alive Leadership© workshops. So, if you have accountability rules in your shop and they work well for you, how about sharing yours to help others? Use the Comments section below. And, thanks.
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