The better you’re able to clearly communicate your team’s accountabilities and the corresponding incentives, the more likely you are to drive the behaviors that you want.
Once you’ve defined what people are accountable for, you need to drive their behaviors. Incentives are a very powerful way for doing so. Leaders can create incentives for people who over-deliver on their accountabilities. Things like bonuses or promotions. You can also use punishment or disincentives when people fail to live up to those accountabilities.
Allow me to offer an example. When I was part of an operating division of a large corporation, we knew very clearly what we were accountable for. We had revenue targets and customer account targets. One year we missed our numbers and we didn’t get a bonus. It was extremely frustrating. Now we knew exactly why. We knew what the metric was and we fell short. But it was really difficult watching our colleagues in other divisions get big bonuses that year because they met expectations.
Now the next year, again, we knew what we were accountable for. The numbers were clearly spelled out and we exceeded our numbers and got a huge bonus that year. So the incentives worked. It drove the right set of behaviors. Additionally, in that situation, individuals could still get merit increases based on their own performance of their specific accountabilities. So even in the year where the division didn’t get a bonus, we did have people who had done a great job and they did receive extra incentives.
There are different ways to create incentives, as well. It doesn’t always have to be money. Sometimes you can give people visibility. Put them in front of senior management and let them present. That would mean a lot to them. Or, send them to a training course. Help them build a new skill. Let them work on a project they’re very excited about. Sometimes just a simple thank you note can go a long way in creating the right incentives.
As you look at your team and look at driving accountability and driving the right set of behaviors, review what your people are accountable for. Lay out those metrics in a very clear and concise way. And then help them understand that if they meet that metric or exceed it, they get a reward. And if you miss it, here’s the consequence.
The better you’re able to clearly communicate those accountabilities and the corresponding incentives, the more likely you are to drive the behaviors that you want.
Want to learn more about building accountability into your culture? How about taking an entire course on it? Check out the video below to learn more about the course and get started. Or you can go directly to the course and start learning how to build accountability into your culture. The entire course is available at LinkedIn Learning. Enjoy!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!