Posted on October 30th, 2011 in - Vicki Wrona, Best Practices, Leadership, Management, Reference Material, Resources | No Comments »
By Vicki Wrona, PMP
I recently read two articles by Roger Connors regarding how to increase accountability on our teams. (1-Accountability Leads To Greater Influence and 2-Uncontrollables?) While he is working with large organizations on complex projects, the principles offered apply to small teams as well. One of the complaints I hear from senior management is lack of proactive action by their employees or project teams. What I hear them talking about is accountability. In classes, I will often ask if participants have noticed that there are those managers or project managers who are able to get the better resources, more budget when needed, better management support and who tend to deliver more successfully? What do they do differently?
They act accountable for delivering results rather than sitting back and letting things happen to them. They are more proactive in a way that Connors offers as a simple thing to do. When working with a team, they often ask, “What else can I do?” This question posed to the team brings out new ideas, gets the team used to hearing the question and possibly thinking in these terms themselves. It is what allows teams to deliver more quickly by fixing inefficiencies or finding more creative solutions. It is what allows teams to deliver on budget when it seems that is not possible. It is what allows teams to discover new uses for either existing products or new products being created. It is what allows teams to educate the end user so the new process or the new product being developed is accepted, used or followed.
The other point made in these articles is that there is more in our control than most people initially believe. I often bring this point up when discussing risk with teams, and discussing steps that can be taken to prevent a threat or enhance an opportunity. We may not have final say in many matters (FDA approval, economic conditions, management priorities, etc.) but we can influence them to some extent, and often to a greater extent than we initially believe. Many people do not want to believe this, but again I will ask if you have seen someone who is able to influence more things than the average worker. Often, these people are not those high up in the org chart, but instead those who are proactive and willing to take accountability. To support this idea, Connors provides an example of a team who increased the speed of government approval tremendously, a process that many believe is out of their control.
What do you think? Do you believe we can influence accountability for ourselves and our teams? How have you done it?