100% Accountability – Zero Excuses

Being accountable is about taking ownership of your thoughts, words, decisions, behaviours and actions. It is about removing blame from others, and taking responsibility. Accountability in the workplace increases employee morale, commitment and performance. Without it, it can become very damaging.

As a business leader, you must have a strong degree of self awareness and you have to be willing to consistently hold yourself accountable. You must also make sure your team are being held accountable. This is where the 100/0 Principle can be a helpful guide.

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen R. Covey

The 100/0 Principle

A client of mine recently had a disgruntled team member complaining about what everyone else does. My client showed them the “100/0 principle” and asked “where do you sit?”. The conversation quickly changed and a positive outcome was reached. On speaking to him after our session, he also told me that he uses the 100/0 concept with his children with great effect… Thanks Phil!

Implementing the 100/0 Principle doesn’t usually come naturally to people. It takes discipline and commitment. However it does come down to simply making a choice. Choose a positive outcome, or a negative outcome. Choose to be accountable, or choose to be the victim. 

The Victim Loop

The victim loop is a negative pattern of behaviours that lead to poor outcomes. In the diagram above you see the common behaviours associated with the victim loop. Ignore, deny, blame, rationalise, resist and hide. 

It’s important as a leader not to try and “fix” employees, but rather guide them by using the 100/0 Principle to help them learn how to take accountability. Starting with asking them where they think they are on the diagram. This is one of the most effective ways to create a high performing team.

How to overcome Victim Loop

Once your employee has identified where they are on the diagram, you can work towards ways of overcoming the situation. Victims usually complain about the situation, instead of asking what they can do about it. They have the mindset of “they should” instead of “I will”. 

In a Workplace Accountability Study with over 40,000 participants, 82% of people say when it comes to holding others accountable, they either try but fail or avoid it altogether. As a leader, you can help steer employees away from the victim loop, into the accountability loop by learning to use open ended, thought-provoking questions. 

Doing this will enable them to feel empowered, and ignites a conversation that will encourage people to think, learn and problem-solve. Be sure to avoid judgements, and keep a safe space when asking questions. This will allow your team to be open. Some questions you can use are:

  • “Is there an area of your role that you think needs improvement?”
  • “How do you think you could make that improvement?”
  • “Why do you think this occurs?”
  • “What could you do differently to improve the situation?
  • “What are the consequences of this to others?”
  • “How will we know when the situation has improved?”

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen R. Covey

The 100/0 Principle is one of the best workplace principles that I have seen. Implement it in your organisation today to build a culture of accountability (and make it visual for employees to see!) 

Download/Print Accountability Diagram

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