Holding People Accountable

Does this little story sound familiar?

“This is a story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”


But, how to avoid this? How to create a culture of accountability and hold people accountable?


Actually, it’s SIMPLE:

S = Set Expectations
I = Invite Commitment
M = Measure Progress
P = Provide Feedback
L = Link to Consequences
E = Evaluate Effectiveness


Let’s explore a little further on what these actually mean?


S = Set Expectations

  • The success of any organization comes down to one thing: how well it organizes its members to focus on and work toward the same purpose

  • The employees need to know what is expected of them before they can be hold accountable for anything

  • The more clearly the expectations and goals are set up front, the less time will be wasted later clarifying – or worse, arguing about – what was really expected

I = Invite Commitment

  • Just because your employees know what to do doesn’t mean they will do it. After goals and expectations are set, employees need to commit to achieving them

  • Employees are more likely to do this when they understand two things: how the goals will benefit them personally, and how the goals will help move the organization forward

  • Once this connection is made they are more likely to buy into the goals, and actually welcome you holding them accountable for the results

M = Measure Progress

  • Information is needed to hold your employees accountable. Measure their ongoing performance and gauge whether or not they meet the goals and expectations to which they had previously committed

  • Goals are only measurable when they are quantified. Measure the results and compare them to the employees’ goals to discover the gaps that require further attention

P = Provide Feedback

  • Feedback won’t solve problems by itself, but it will open the door for problem-solving discussions and follow-up actions

  • The employees need feedback to do a good job and improve in areas where performance is falling short of expectations. Most of the time, giving objective, behavioral feedback is all it takes. Setting expectations followed by quality feedback is the backbone of holding someone accountable for results

L = Link to Consequences

  • Sometimes employees need a little external motivation to live up to their commitments. When they struggle to reach their goals, they can be helped by administering appropriate consequences

E = Evaluate Effectiveness

  • Review how the process has been handled

  • Put a systematic and consistent method in place and you’ll find that when people are held accountable for the work that must get done, it gets done

For goals to be meaningful and effective in motivating employees, they must be tied to larger organizational ambitions.


Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in company success are more likely to become disengaged. No matter what level the employee is at, he should be able to articulate exactly how his efforts feed into the broader company strategy.


High performance and success are not dependent on one simple factor or as a result of one or two things. The entire context you operate in greatly impacts your results.

How do you hold your team accountable?
Source: Dilbert

Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.

About Dr. Surya

Using Quantum Physics and business research, Dr. Surya explores the correlation between the science of consciousness and patterns in the business world, to suggest innovative ways of using this wisdom to lead and succeed in a business environment that is constantly evolving at a rapid pace.

Self-awareness is the awareness of the self as separate from the thoughts that are occurring at any point in time. Without self-awareness the self perceives and believes the thoughts that are occurring to be who the self is. Self-awareness gives one the option or choice to choose thoughts being thought rather than simply thinking the thoughts that are stimulated from the accumulative events leading up to the circumstances of the moment.

Along with his work as an Author, Writer, Blogger and popular Internet Radio Talk Show Host, Dr. Surya is in-demand as a public speaker. Clients include small to large corporations and individuals.

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