Accountability Strengthens the Culture
A culture of accountability doesn’t just happen. It takes persistence well after you state your expectations.
Parenting would be easy if you could tell your kids once, and only once, to do something and know for certain it would be done without checking. But that isn’t the case with parenting, nor is it the case in most leadership situations. You can’t just tell your team that you expect them to follow your service standards 100% of the time and know it will be done.
“You can’t tell your team that you expect them to follow your service standards 100% of the time and know it will be done.”
The staff knows which leaders will hold them accountable and which will not. When we do focus groups and ask staff about what is expected of them, we often hear, “It depends.” Drilling down further, we learn that follow through and accountability really depends on who leads the department.
Creating a memorable foundation for a culture of accountability
I remember the first time I used the phrase, “It’s not what you EXPECT, but what you INSPECT that gets the RESPECT.” I was with a group of leaders and one of them said he felt it was a condescending phrase. I can see where it may be interpreted as condescending, or even militant. My intent in using this phrase is to establish a memorable foundation for a culture of accountability. You can tell the staff about service standards but if you don’t make regular rounds, observe, and give feedback, your stated expectations may not be taken seriously.
So often, I have seen a leader who trains staff on a tactic, then doesn’t follow through to make sure that it’s consistently implemented. It could be on anything from scripting to hourly rounds or simply walking visitors to their destinations. The leader doesn’t ensure that it’s being done and then complains that the “program” or “model” doesn’t work. It’s not the tactic that didn’t work, it was the follow-through which is as important to the success as the initial training. Maybe more.
Accountability can lead to greater profitability too. In a Forbes article [i], author John Hall states that accountability is good for the culture and bolsters the bottom line.
When your team members know that you will hold them accountable, they know you are serious about quality, consistency, and maintaining a positive culture. In turn, they will show more respect for the work that is being done knowing that you care enough to follow-through.
Tags: Accountability, culture, healthcare, Healthcare Leader, Leadership, Patient Experience, Rounding, Service Standards