Accountability vs. Responsibility

One of the big challenges I hear from CEOs all the time is, “I can’t seem to find a way to hold my team accountable”. The leadership team has, seemingly, productive meetings where they define priorities and assign responsibilities and then nothing gets done. Lack of accountability has a devastating impact on an organization.

First, lack of accountability breeds frustration throughout the organization as team members learn they can’t rely on each other. This has a dramatic impact on morale and trust within the organization, bringing productivity down and making harder to recruit “A” players.

Second, and most importantly, lack of accountability leads to stagnation. As the frustration grows, people give up and stop making commitments. They say things like, “priorities are just changing too fast for me to make a commitment”, or “why should I care if I miss a deadline if no one is going to follow up anyway?” This is a death knell for a growing organization.

There are many reasons for this challenge but the first is that most organizations don’t really know the difference between accountability and responsibility. Here’s something that may help.


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