Team Accountability Tools
Lencioni suggests three "classic management tools"1 to ensure accountability within the team: Publication of Goals and Standards, Simple and Regular Progress Reviews, and Team Rewards.
Publication of Goals and Standards makes accountability easier. Simply having the expectations made public gives a sense of permission for team members to follow up with one another. In order for this tool to be effective, the goals and standards must be objectively measurable and very specific. Long-term goals should be broken down into short-term goals, which should also have specific, measurable criteria. The team leader should bring these goals and standards to each meeting and ask team members to make a detailed report on their progress.
Simple and Regular Progress Reviews set an expectation of accountability. These reviews do not have to all be done by the supervisor. Allowing teammates to provide feedback on how their peers "are doing against stated objectives and standards"1 gives them experience with accountability and also gives team members different perspectives on their performance. In order for this to be successful, specific expectations and timeframes should be established by the team leader, who should set the example by holding the team members accountable to this review schedule.
Team Rewards focus on team accomplishments rather than individual accolades. If an individual cannot be rewarded for her performance but only receives recognition if the team succeeds, the selfish motive to avoid accountability is greatly reduced. "The team can create a culture of accountability... because a team is unlikely to stand by quietly and fail because a peer is not pulling his or her weight."1
Lencioni points out that "More than any policy or system, there is nothing like the fear of letting down respected teammates that motivates people to improve their performance."1
What tools has your team found effective in ensuring team accountability?
1 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni