Accountability to the Rescue!

Accountability to the Rescue!

We talked about blame in our last blog. It’s a nasty outcome of a subpar culture. Blame is the negative posture people tend to take when things are not clear and there is a lack of clarity where they are working. Hands are tied with blame and action is stalled; it’s a dark place. 

We need a hero in this story.

Captain Accountable, our new favorite superhero.

We know the opposite of blame is accountability. Positivity personified, that’s accountability. It’s the workplace caped crusader come to take action and save the day. Captain Accountable makes things happen, makes decisions, finds solutions, and owns the situation.

Captain Accountable’s motto is “I will get it done!” Swoon! 

Oh, how we wish everyone was like Captain Accountable! 

Alas, the human mind is very complex and workplaces within senior living can be like Gotham City, corrupt with confusion and dodgy culture. It took a group of really smart people at MIT, namely researcher, William Issac, to help us understand all that accountability is and is not in the workplace. 

And so, we meet the villain in our story, Reactive. Reactive comes from a place of unaccountability, where blame, denial, and avoidance reside. Reactive is full of excuses. Productivity grinds to a halt when Reactive is nearby. Chances are you know a Reactive in your organization and you are wondering, as you read this, how can we help Reactive to change their ways?!

Lucky for us those smart researchers at MIT threw us a lifeline. 

The Ladder of Accountability

The Ladder of Accountability is something our clients really respond to. It depicts how individuals can climb up and out of an unaccountable place and swap out the blame and denial for positive action through accountability. 

There are two basic approaches to life. In any situation, especially uncomfortable or intense ones, you can choose to be accountable for what happens next, or you can choose to abdicate responsibility for the circumstances and their resolution. 

The Ladder of Accountability describes eight levels of accountability. The bottom four rungs are focused on the past or avoiding discomfort in the present. People tend to move down this ladder in response to intensity beyond their tolerance. Generally, the lower portion of the ladder includes more reactive behavior, a victim mentality and a greater sense of helplessness.

Choices higher on the ladder tend to decrease anxiety and, in the long run, lead to greater results and enhanced relationships. More choices and possibilities are available as one moves up the ladder. The greater percentage of people in an organization who choose stances in the top portion of the Ladder of Accountability, the greater the chance the organization has of being successful in attaining goals and a higher level of collaboration. 
Source: Duncan Worldwide
Clear up the Confusion

The red line above denotes the ‘clarity threshold’. Below this line is where victim and reactive behavior exists. Do your team members work in the Land of Confusion? Is your organization rife with mixed messages, conflicting priorities, unclear directives, and ever-rotating “urgencies”?

You can help your teams be successful and climb the ladder by reducing this type of clatter. Prioritize how to provide teams more clarity day-to-day, which is part of prioritizing your culture. Give them a boost and help them fasten their capes. Captain Accountability is within all of us, after all!

How to Use Your New Lifeline

The Ladder of Accountability allows you to EVALUATE your current stance (and your team members in a coaching situation). Apply descriptions of the various levels to your own behavior in a given situation. Where are you on this ladder?

Once you know where you currently are on the ladder, you can CHOOSE where you want to go next. Practice making distinctions between why you would choose one level over another.

From this position on the ladder, you can ACT. What do you need to do differently if you want to take a stance on a different rung of the ladder of accountability? Practice the actions needed to be consistent with your choices.

Flex Your Accountability Muscles 

Take a moment and identify a current challenge you are facing in your professional life.Where on the Ladder of Accountability is your current stance regarding this challenge?What would you have to do to shift up at least one rung?What would you risk in shifting your stance?

Is Your Culture the Ultimate Villain, or What Needs Saving?

It depends on how you look at it. What we know for sure is the real superhero is the leader who prioritizes culture. It requires a bold and audacious type of leader. Not surprising, superheroes are never average or ordinary. Do you have what it takes to swoop in and save the day for your organization?


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