What to do
You’re going to be talking about mutual accountability as the hallmark of great collective performance. This means collective first and individual second. The work you have done so far makes this possible. It means everyone playing their part and everyone holding everyone else to account to play their part.
Why do it
When there is mutual accountability there is helpful challenge and support amongst everyone. All this is focused on the collective effort to get better and achieve your purpose. This part of the plan will:
- Help everyone be clear on responsibilities towards collective performance
- Bring role clarity when it comes to supporting and challenging one another
- Mean that no-one can succeed if the team fails
How to do it
There are 3 steps to take with this. Read these through, look at the example and then create your own plan.
1. Eyes on the prize
Mutual accountability for team performance is not always easy. You might be working against lots of existing practices and processes that focus on individual performance and results. This part of the team plan will be the start in making this happen, but don’t expect everything to happen.
2. Getting ready
Think about great teams and collective efforts you know about. Either ones you’ve worked in or ones you know of – in business or any other environment. Think about how everyone puts the collective purpose first – and at the same time how everyone benefitted personally from this. This is what you need to be able to communicate.
3. Getting going
This is about explaining the principle of mutual accountability for collective performance. You might ask “who is responsible for the performance of the team?” and discuss the pros and cons of applying this principle. Be prepared to clearly explain why mutual accountability is important for you all to achieve your collective purpose.
You’re nearly ready to talk about this critical team performance principle. To help you along the way, we’ve completed an example of how you can introduce the principle and get it working. Read through it, get some ideas from it and then create your own plan.
1. Why this is important
Prepare why you think and believe this principle is important. Be ready to explain the benefits for everyone of getting it working and the consequences of not doing so. Think about your examples of where you have seen this working. Be ready to tell those stories if needed. Also be ready to describe the mindset and behaviour required. It might need a conscious effort by everyone to choose to be mutually accountable for collective performance.
2. Key messages and outcomes
Once more you are probably going to need to get everyone together to talk to them. You could prepare something to send out in writing about mutual accountability. You could use this to follow up a discussion with or for anyone who can’t make the meeting. Writing it will also help your preparation – even if you don’t actually give or send it out.
The key messages are:
- in the best teams there is mutual accountability for collective performance
- this means everyone in the team is supporting and challenging one another to improve and perform at their best
- mutual accountability means everyone is seeking to perform at their best whilst saying to everyone else “I will not let you fail”
3. Next steps
- Do your prep and arrange the time for everyone to get together. Allow at least 30 minutes but up to an hour if possible
- Think about the mindset and behaviour required from everyone. After the meeting look out for examples. Be ready to acknowledge and appreciate good examples. Also be ready to call out mindsets and behaviours that are not helpful
- Remember that a collective culture is hugely influenced by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate!
Think through the pros and cons of practicing mutual accountability. How would it feel for everyone? If everyone thinks the leader alone is responsible for collective performance consider the negative implications – everyone working alone, a leader who finds themselves dictating, dissatisfaction at not achieving what you could if you worked together…