3 Ways to Build a Culture with an Accountability Backbone


Thanks to Kris Boesch for this guest post.

Accountability isn’t exactly happy dance material. It’s a tough term.  What do you think of when you hear the word?   Perhaps belittling, finger wagging, or being watched?

Accountability is key to an extraordinary workplace culture.

#1. Create a definition.

Create a new definition of accountability.  Make it “count-on-able” – where you can count on your co-worker to follow-through.  Or consider “ability to count,” the ability to have someone’s effort and energy count.

#2. Include success and struggle.

Holding people accountable is to witness both success and struggle. When you see success, follow up with meaningful appreciation and recognition.

High performers and those who are set up for success love accountability.

#3. Confront mediocrity.

However, if you have someone on your team who is struggling, you’ve likely been asked to “hold them accountable.”  But what does that even mean?  Hold them in check?  Hold one’s feet to the fire?

Consider coaching and guiding them to success.  To a point. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

If someone isn’t pulling their weight or isn’t being kind and there’s no reaction, things get wonky fast.  When you say nothing, you give unsaid permission to perpetuate bad behaviors.   Subpar behavior or performance becomes normal, accepted. Mediocrity sets in.  Caring slips.

Leaders are accountable for accountability.

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
C.S. Lewis, novelist and poet

How might leaders create a culture to instill accountability?


Kris Boesch the author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace found at www.cultureworksbook.com.  She is also the CEO and Founder of Choose People, a company that transforms company cultures, increases employee happiness and boosts the bottom-line. The Choose People 360° Culture Audit is based on over 1000 hours of research Boesch conducted with the Industrial Organizational Psychology Department at Colorado State University. Prior to Choose People, Boesch was the CEO of Exodus Moving & Storage.  Under her leadership Exodus became the largest mover in Northern Colorado with a turnover rate nearly 40% less than the industry average and a bottom line twice that same average. She is the author of ‘Culture Works’ and the accompanying workbook available now on her website and May 15 on Amazon.  Kris is also a proud mother, dancing diva and dog lover.