Accountability is a concept that separates great leaders from average leaders. The SIMPLE method is an excellent way to improve the accountability of your Team:
S = Set Expectations
I = Invite Commitment
M = Measure Progress
P = Provide Feedback
L = Link to Consequences
E = Evaluate Effectiveness
Set Expectations: Team Members must focus on and work toward a common purpose. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them before they can be held accountable for results. The more clearly the expectations can be set, the less wasted energy there will be. Wasted energy is actions that do not support the common purpose.
Invite Commitment: Just because your Team Members know what to do doesn’t mean they will do it well. After expectations are set, there must be agreement on achieving them and buy-in from each Team Member. The leader should emphasize how the goals will benefit each person and how achieving them benefits the entire team and the business.
Measure Progress: It is best to have goals where you can measure your ongoing performance towards achieving them. Use metrics and data reports to show exactly where you stand towards meeting the expectations. Look for areas to celebrate success, but also look for gaps that require further attention.
Provide Feedback: Feedback is a starting point to solving performance issues. When done well, it opens the door to discussions and team building. Team Members need to know how they are performing in comparison to the expectations. Feedback should be a standard communication practice for a manager to have with each Team Member. Using feedback and data is the key to holding someone accountable for results. The approach should be coaching for performance, and not criticism.
Link to Consequences: When giving feedback, it is sometimes worthwhile to remind the Team Member of consequences from their performance. These consequences are the rewards and advantages of success, but sometimes can be a warning for negative consequences if there is no improvement over time.
Evaluate Effectiveness: It is best to review you process and your approach. Does it meet all the guidelines of SIMPLE? Are you seeing continued success, and improvement in the weaker areas? One important tip is that having a consistent method of applying these tools for accountability will improve your results. Be consistent in how you set expectations, invite commitment, measure progress, provide feedback and show links to consequences. If you make too many changes, accountability will suffer. Team Members need to know that the goals and the processes are long-term and that you will be communicating about them often.
Accountability means that each Team Member is responsible for their own actions and that their actions are important for the success of the Team, as a whole. When Team Members internalize the goals and accept the process, you will find steady improvement in performance!