One out of every two managers is terrible at accountability according to studies cited by the Harvard Business Review. That’s one reason that CEO’s, business owners and senior executive join Vistage International.
HBR explores “Free Ridership” wherein team members who don’t carry their weight and drag on the performance of others may be rewarded anyway. In fact, they may often get ahead of hard working contributors and enjoy the benefits of group membership without making the personal sacrifice. There is a solution–Evaluate to Win, pioneered by Able Aerospace in Phoenix working with GE’s Jack Welch. It is a new, affordable performance management tool that can be deployed by companies of any size. More at Evaluate to Win Website.
The HBR article goes on to say…
Thus, it is no surprise that groups in which free-riders are punished for their loafing outperform groups in which they are not. But the interesting finding in all of this is that the person who does the punishing actually pays a personal price in terms of lost social support. In a nutshell, group performance requires that someone plays the role of sheriff, but it is a thankless job. It is another one of those sticky cases where what is good for the group can be bad for the individual. You know, the kind of stuff that in another era was considered commendable because it served a greater good than self-interest.
In this light, it is easy to see why so many people in positions of authority are soft on accountability. In an age of career management and “psychopolitics,” where personal interest reigns supreme, who wants to risk being the bad guy? The unfortunate consequence, however, is that no matter what short-term costs an upwardly ambitious manager avoids by not playing the sheriff, they are overshadowed in the long run by the creation of a culture of mediocrity and lackluster organizational performance. Add this up over time and across departments and business units and the aggregate costs of neglecting accountability can be staggering for everyone.