Does your business struggle with co-ordination and handovers between different teams? Do your teams work in silos? Are you losing time and money because things are not joined up?
One of our international manufacturing clients was struggling with these problems, suffering from deadline and cost overruns, and in one disastrous instance, the loss of a major customer.
Their business is complex. Every project is bespoke and requires input from multiple teams, which are often spread across different geographical sites. Long chains of specialist teams must co-ordinate in order to deliver on complex customer specifications, all within strict budget and time constraints. The business has detailed process maps which spell out the tasks and responsibilities of the various teams. But when the pressure is on, things go wrong and the processes break down.
The leadership team discussed this problem and saw that each time things went wrong, the people involved were saying, “But that’s not my job, I did what I was supposed to do.” Nobody saw themselves as accountable for anything beyond their small part of the process. The leaders realized that to fix the problem, each person needed to take more ownership of the whole process, identifying and addressing any problems in a timely fashion.
The client contacted us because they had heard about some training we’d delivered to focus staff’s minds on success across the whole business. So now, following a successful pilot, we have rolled out the training to a wide range of staff from across their business.
Our accountability training draws on The Oz Principle by Roger Connors, Tom Smith & Craig Hickman. This book refers to the Wizard of Oz story, where four hapless characters seek a wizard to fix their shortcomings. When they discover that the wizard is not real, they finally find it in themselves to achieve their goals. The Oz Principle takes the reader on a journey from being a victim of your circumstances to taking full responsibility for your actions and driving improvement.
Our training starts by exploring the behaviour and language that we should use or avoid, in order to be accountable. We show participants a step by step way to choose positive actions, and find solutions that are within their power. They work in groups to explore the real cost of not behaving accountably and to solve real problems.
In feedback from the participants and their managers, we have seen the following benefits:
- By training mixed groups of people from across the business, participants increase their understanding of the different departments and the interrelationships that make or break key processes.
- By working through real scenarios from their business, they truly internalise the impact that a lack of accountability has.
- Through interactive exercises and discussions, they gain practical tips and tools that they can apply right away on the job.
- By telling and hearing true stories of when accountability was lacking, they walk away with a changed mind-set and a new sense of purpose.
The program has been so successful that the organisation continues to run it for more managers each year. Early on, the CEO chose to put his whole leadership team through the training, so they could benefit personally and also cascade the learning. Through word of mouth, each year the courses fill up with staff who want to know how they can personally improve the business.
Is a lack of accountability damaging your business? If so, we can help. Contact us!