Accountability – The Foundation of Sustainable Innovation

by Robert F Brands

Accountability - The Foundation of Sustainable InnovationWithout accountability, there is no innovation. Action items won’t get done, programs will lose traction, meetings will fall off the calendar – the issue can be as frustrating as “herding cats”.

Every company culture needs accountability. Actually, for any company to succeed accountability is an imperative. Members of a corporate team need to feel responsible for their work – to meet deadlines and to deliver what was agreed upon. Holding others accountable begins with clear communication of what is expected of them and even getting the agreement in writing if necessary.

So to expect creativity in developing new products at your company, hold your team accountable. Schedule New Product Development meetings. Set clear action items and expect follow-through to keep the program moving along. Team members need to feel responsible for delivery.

Now there’s the left brain vs. right brain argument that creative people cannot be organized – that creation loves chaos and therefore creatives are not able to deliver on a set schedule. But for a group of creatives who feel responsible for the outcome of their project and accountability for what happens within the company, Robert Brands assures you that in his years of experience leading project development teams that he has seen plenty of people who are creative and competent in delivering work on schedule. If you struggle with accountability, monitor and have your team report on smaller, interim steps in between monthly meetings. These tips should be helpful in encouraging accountability in your organization…

  • Give Them Enough Rope To…: The natural tendency is to dictate terms – deadlines, methodologies, etc. Let the team members decide upon the “how it’s going to get done” elements. Should they go a bit off the track, you can always fine-tune. Or, better yet, lead a discussion on how they can fine-tune.
  • It’s Expected: State clearly, from the outset, that the team members will be expected to develop the answers to work-related issues – it will be their responsibility.

Ultimately, it’s about people knowing their roles and that there are limitless possibilities and positive rewards for jobs performed in an organization that insists on Accountability.

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Robert F BrandsRobert Brands is the founder of InnovationCoach.com, and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival”, with Martin Kleinman – published March 2010 by Wiley (www.robertsrulesofinnovation.com).

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