My experiences tell me that the best of the best seek out accountability. People tend to judge themselves by their intentions and everyone else by their behavior. Super stars understand that there is gap between reaching goal and reaching potential. That gap does not close without accountability and the lost opportunity in tangible business results and employee engagement is vast. At Sandler Training we train sales people and we see firsthand how sales people are held accountable for results (sometimes) but held accountable to little else. This typically leads to complacency and mediocrity.
One of the ways to increase accountability is to get your team to commit not only to the result (the lagging indicator) but certain benchmark activities on the way to success (leading indicators). This requires that we first decide what to measure.
We have a client that decided to measure qualified introductions to new accounts. In three months they saw a 600% increase. This is not unusual. What gets measured is what typically gets done. And if you are measuring it and it does not change behavior, it is likely a waste of a measurement.
Once the leading indicators are defined, next specific goals must be set and published for all to see. Next, we must track our results publicly and develop a cadence of accountability for team reporting. And finally, monitor and adjust based on reality...constantly moving the flag forward as we achieve new milestones.
Accountability should be a core value. Far too many good plans are made to be spoiled by a lack of execution. By not developing a culture of accountability we cheat our team members out of joy of performing far above what they thought possible.