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What is Management Accountability?

Brace yourself for a serious re-evaluation of some old notions of management! In several discussions and articles provided in this site the whole notion of management accountability is redirected to focus on the responsibilities of all individuals. An effective system does not require policing to see that people are doing their jobs. In an effectively designed system, people are measured in ways that encourage productive and insightful action. Getting past old beliefs on the part of the employee and the manager or team leader is the biggest challenge. People get the jargon right but too easily overlook the costs and consequences of their behavior.

So, let's take a close look at some alternatives. Most large corporations have clearly abandoned the old system (rigid hierarchy).

If you can imagine a business as a living organism, you can visualize that it is made up of individual cells. Each cell may have a different function, or there may be several cells with essentially the same function. All cells work together to carry on the life of the organism. Without effective communication between the cells, interaction of one cell with another may work against the overall intentions of the entire organism.

Communication must also flow in two directions across the boundary of a cell or team to assure that all actions are not only timely, by in full accordance with what is needed by the larger organism.

A common mistake in many organizations is poor, incomplete, or late flow of information. In today's business world change is the only constant. Assumptions that others need to know very little are not only unfounded, but also costly.

Communication is essential for achieving correct action. It is a vital component of success and trust. Any business management system, aside from the logic it uses to manage or plan events, must be a system that builds trust. Conformance to objectives is much easier to achieve when everyone trusts and believes in the system and methods in use.

But people often do not trust systems. Many people have experienced systems as basically untrustworthy. Trust in a system is infused by the trust people have in each other. The need for high levels of trust in an organization comes not because it is right to do so, but because it is actually the most cost-effective way to operate. The consequences of operating in disregard of the need to build a trust worthy communication/information exchange are enormous.


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