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Practice 7: Make Sure That the Reward System Focuses on Accountability

19 January, 2016 - 10:47

A key aspect of accountability means that there are consequences to meeting or not meeting performance standards. This suggests that the reward and recognition system needs to celebrate and reward those who consistently deliver results and develop a reputation for accountability, and it needs to confront and punish those who consistently fail to deliver results.  1

Many organizations do a good job celebrating and recognizing good performance. Very few organizations deal with nonperformers well even though this is a key process for any organization that takes accountability seriously. Most employees like knowing where they stand in terms of performance, and the performance evaluation system is central to making an organization accountable. It is particularly important that the performance evaluation system is based on hitting predefined targets and standards as much as possible. However, care must be exercised in selecting the right standards, not just those that are easiest to measure. 2

In the absence of rigorously defined standards, performance evaluation becomes more focused on nonperformance criteria. Since each organization is unique, customized reward and recognition systems are becoming the norm for organizations seeking greater accountability.  3

In sum, creating and maintaining a culture of accountability is essential to bring about a change-capable organization. This does not mean that organizations need to measure everything and become more mechanical. If thoughtfully developed, however, measurements and responsibility assignments can aid in organizational learning and adaptability. This dimension, and the previous dimensions discussed, is graphically depicted in .

Figure 9.1 The Seventh Dimension of Organizational Capacity for Change: Accountable Culture