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 One Minute Manager

Team Accountability
Needs to Be Clear


by Ken Blanchard

I recently got a chance to spend a day-and-a-half with a long-time, dear friend of mine, Bob Small. Bob has developed more five-star operations than any other hotelier in the United States. When it comes to quality and service in the hospitality industry, he is a giant.

Bob is one of the few top managers who is both a great visionary and a great implementer. He always provides clear vision and direction for his organization, and then shouts that vision everywhere he goes.

The biggest relearning I got from Bob was the importance of team accountability. You get what you reward; behavior is controlled by its own consequences. If you want people to behave in a certain way and they do perform as desired, they need to be praised and rewarded. If they don't perform as desired, they need to be either redirected or reprimanded. The importance of accountability can't be overstated.

Bob agrees. He doesn't want to have to deal with a team. He wants one person to whom he can go to learn what is happening. In some cases, a team will come together with the obvious capacity to manage itself and be held accountable as a unit without a designated leader. In other instances, the team will be asked to pick an accountability person to provide clear answers and communication. When a self-directed team occurs, it needs to be supported by management, but it also needs leaders who will take on necessary responsibility and be held accountable.

When I talk about team accountability, I expect team leaders to not only be accountable for results but also for building a high-performing team and for the functioning of that team. In the process of holding leaders accountable, the teams will be held accountable, too. In other words, it is not an option for team members to drag their feet and resist a leader's efforts without doing everything possible to help that leader become an effective team leader.

We cannot accomplish what we want to accomplish in the future if we don't help each other. Leaders, all by themselves, are vulnerable. We need both successful and effective leadership -- leaders that not only get good results but live according to the organization's values as they build a high-performing team. We have to give up leader watching and evaluating. So often, people sit around and evaluate, hold back or tear a leader down. I expect team members instead to roll up their sleeves and get involved. When everyone is involved and committed, shared leadership will be created.

I also was reminded by Bob of the need for visionary leadership ("doing things right"). In the rapidly changing business environment we're all living in today, no one leader has all the skills or attributes necessary to run an operation alone. Bob believes that leaders should gather a complimentary team around them to support their strengths and cover any of their weaknesses. Bob also believes in building a team of people who all share -- and are committed to -- the same vision for the future.

All leaders, whether they are appointed or emerge, must build a high-performing team around themselves. An effective high-performing team has high standards, mutual accountability and deep commitment to the task and each other. Teams must accomplish tasks to remain in existence, but they are built on a foundation of interdependence.



In The One Minute Manager Builds High-Performing Teams, the authors present seven characteristics of the PERFORM model, which highlights desired behaviors of an effective team.

 Purpose. Team members are clear about what the team's work is and why it is important.

 Empowerment. Members are confident about the team's ability to overcome obstacles and to realize its vision.

 Relationship and communication. The team is committed to open communication, and members feel that they can state their opinions, thoughts and feelings without fear.

 Flexibility. Members are flexible and perform different tasks and maintenance functions as needed.

 Optimal productivity. High-performing teams produce significant results, due to a commitment to high standards and quality results.

 Recognition and appreciation. Individual and team accomplishments are frequently recognized by the team leader -- as well as team members -- by celebrating milestones, accomplishments and events.

 Morale. Members are enthusiastic about the team's work, and each person feels pride in being a team member.

© 1997 Blanchard Management Report, Blanchard Training and Development Inc. Call (800) 728-6000, fax (619) 743-5030 or e-mail kblanchard@qualitydigest.com.


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