Culture and Accountability: Performance Standard in Real Time
When working with business owners on building sustainable organizational leadership, issues, problems, and obstacles quickly surface. While many of these are particular to the organization, some common themes emerge. The most compelling of these are culture and accountability.
Frequently, I hear from entrepreneurial business leaders that their organizational culture isn’t where it needs to be. A major reason for this is what they see as a general lack of accountability. They will express frustration over their attempts to address these two key matters. While some of these tactics are helpful, they are woefully incomplete.
When asked what is expected of their team members (a foundational pillar of culture), I’m often referred to the organization’s policy manual. When interviewing staff, including supervisors and managers, I find many haven’t read it, can’t remember receiving one or don’t know where it is. In one striking example, the head of HR told me she hadn’t read the policy manual “only the parts the lawyers reviewed and approved.” While policy manuals are a necessary part of organizational life, they are inherently limited, for the following reason:
Organizational behavior and performance standards are not set by “policy,” but by what is permitted, allowed, encouraged, and rewarded in real time.
To be sure, leadership sets the tone and bears primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining organizational standards. But the real test comes when supervisors and managers find themselves confronted with employee performance and/or behavior challenges they are neither prepared nor equipped to handle.
Team members often define their organization’s culture as a direct reflection of their immediate supervisor. The ability of that supervisor to communicate, monitor and maintain performance and behavior standards is dependent in large part on the training, mentoring and continuing professional development they receive.
How’s the culture in your organization? Are standards clearly communicated, monitored, and maintained? And most importantly, are your supervisors and managers prepared and equipped to function effectively in this critically important role?
For ways you can measure and improve culture and accountability in your organization, contact me at email@example.com.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.