Are you accountable?

I was out for dinner the other night at Mix at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Fabulous restaurant… terrible service.  Actually, that isn’t 100% true.  The order was taken quickly, the drinks were prompt, but the food still hadn’t arrived after an hour.  Having worked in hospitality, I understand how long it should take for 2 steaks to arrive – approximately 15-20 min, not 60 min!

That aside, what really struck me about the experience was the fact that each person who came to talk to us about the service tried to blame someone else.  Our server blamed us for how we ordered our steaks, the manager blamed the chef and so on.  No one was taking accountability for their actions or for the actions of their company.

One of the main complaints that I receive when we are doing teamwork training is about accountability (or lack thereof) in the workplace.  In a perfect world, everyone at each level of a corporation would willingly take ownership of their role and what is expected of them.  But this not a perfect world and I have come to realize that you cannot make someone accountable, it needs to be a voluntary action on the part of the employee.

What you can do is create an environment and conditions to promote people to voluntarily be accountable for their actions.  Here are some ways to help promote accountability in your workplace.

  • Communicate your strategic direction and core values to staff.  Accountable organizations let people know where the organization is going and how the core values influence day to day decisions.
  • Get your processes and measurements aligned.
  • Hire people that fit with your organizational direction and core values.
  • Work with individuals providing input, direction and feedback in a mentorship style.
  • Monitor progress.
  • Be consistent and persistent.  Just as with any goal, once the honeymoon period is over, it is easy to slide back into old ways. Accountability is on ongoing process for organizations.

If this blog post was not helpful, I’m sorry.  I take full responsibility for the content of my blog.


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.

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3 Responses

  1. I think that I work in a place full of people who take accountability. I think one of your points about hiring people that fit your culture is very important, although sometimes people fit the culture but still never like to take accountability. I beleive that accountability starts within a person. The attributes I look for when hiring are people who are confident, can openly say they are wrong, but also are solution oriented. From my personal experience, people solution focused tend to not get stuck on the problem, but move forward.

  2. While this doesn’t necessarily apply to your restaurant experience, one thing that I’ve seen get in the way of people taking accountability is a lack of good decision-making processes and a decision rule (which answers the question, “how do we know when we’ve made a decision”). Without knowing how decisions are made and who makes them, it can lead to all sorts of problems, including a lack of accountability. Although in your example, the fact that you were blamed for bad ordering is just lunacy!

  3. Succinct, fine reading. Accountability delivered up fast, fresh and share-able. Thanks for the neat little amuse bouche.

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