Establishing Team Accountability

Case Study: Establishes Team Accountability

A leading national marketing consulting firm wanted a way to build empathy, generosity and transparency with its 10-person senior leadership team. The team was geographically located throughout the country and used a team-selling approach with clients. Therefore, success was dependent on team trust and accountability.

Senior team meetings were trite and essentially a reporting venue. Consistent trust, accountability and generosity were needed to bring the team closer and toward a shared vision. The CEO wanted to engage his team in more meaningful ways. With the COO as a recent hire, he felt it was a good time to introduce a new environment for building relationships with each other that could easily be applied to client relationships. The risk was that such an open, direct culture had not existed before at the firm and would scare people or create conflict.

Making commitments in front of peers brings a new level of accountability to leadership and can trickle throughout the organization. The model introduced to this team was called an “Accountability Group.” Scorecards were developed using metrics based on three areas. The first area was on the soft side of business with personal elements, including the employee’s current state of: health, finance, relationships, family, spiritual and philanthropic endeavors. The second was dedicated to leadership style, and the third to business benchmarks. These benchmarks included hard data such as: customer satisfaction levels, number of proposals written, revenue generated, profitability targets and pipeline assessment. Through an early diagnostic with the team, feedback evolved to become the metrics for gauging the success of individuals, the team and the company. Feedback also allowed for the customized content as part of the scorecard by which each person ‘checked in’ during a monthly Accountability Group series. To see benefits, the series requires at least six months, with three-hour meetings once a month. 

With a new mindset of accountability and new skill sets using scorecards and agreed upon metrics, the team began to break down barriers, to help in areas where weaknesses existed and to be more empathetic to their team members as whole people, not simply as job functions. What goes on in a person’s life is brought into the office, consciously and unconsciously. Companies like this one that break barriers and create accountability of teams recognize success ahead of those who do not. Teams are more effective. This progress can be seen throughout the organization and at the customer level.