I’ve been working on accountability with two executive coaching clients. In one case my client is a sales manager who has seven direct reports. In the other case my client is a lawyer whose process goal is to have 8 business development lunches per month spending $1,000 in total on them.
The first steps in the accountability discussion ensure the person to be held accountable has the tools they need to succeed. These are 1] clearly managed expectations, ensuring the person knows what they are to do and that they are motivated; 2] the capabilities to do what is expected, either from experience, training or coaching; 3] measurement that is understood, so they know what the target is; 4] good honest feedback at the right intervals, to keep them on track.
So if the first four steps are in place and there remains a shortfall in performance consequences come into play. Variations on consequences include dismissal, anger and begging. None of these are productive.
I prefer incentives. My clients and I have invented two that we think will work.
Firstly, my sales manager client will provide two levels of status rewards. These are different than monetary compensation which is part of motivation. He’s going to implement two sales meetings. One will be in Hamilton, Bermuda. The other will be in Hamilton, Ontario. His best performers will be going to Bermuda. The others will be going to Steel Town. A variation on this kind of incentive is time with the manager. So best performers get 1:1 lunch time with their manager and lesser performers get group face time, not so good.
Secondly, my lawyer client and I developed an idea whereby when she has a shortfall in lunch spending she will donate the amount of the shortfall to a charity she doesn’t like. That wasn’t easy to come up with but we decided that one of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would register as distasteful.