The STW Group has been hired for a wide variety of projects across multiple industries, and we’ve found that organizations often believe they’ve sufficiently framed the problem or opportunity they’re aiming to solve. It’s very common to misidentify a symptom as the problem. This can lead to the wrong solution as symptoms often mask the real issue. Part of our role is to ask challenging questions to help organizations uncover the root cause(s) driving their problem. One of the most common culprits behind this discrepancy – perceived problem vs. actual problem – is accountability.

Case in point – A company expressed problems with high turnover, poor quality, and an increase in regulatory violations. Their request was for training. Proper training can provide the knowledge needed to ensure things are done the “right way”. Makes sense, right?

After a deeper dive into the organization, what lacked the most was accountability. There had been numerous attempts at training in the past. The root problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge. The bottom line – leadership wasn’t holding themselves accountable, nor were they holding their teams accountable.

Absolutely, the right training and thoughtful follow up can have a profound impact. After all, we’re a learning organization that emphasizes continuous learning, but we know that throwing out a solution (e.g. training) doesn’t mean it’s the right solution or that it’s solving the root problem. In this, and many examples, where accountability is uncovered to be a root problem, it’s prudent to start with well-defined roles and expectations and how those expectations are communicated. Assuming the expectations are clear and communicated, the next question is – are you inspecting what is expected?

Companies need to understand the importance of accountability and how they manage it to ensure other efforts aren’t thwarted. If you suspect this is an issue in your organization, or if you need an expert’s insights to accurately frame your problem/opportunity, give us a call or visit our site.