Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Successful Culture of Accountability, Measurement and Transparency

Many businesses today are trudging along and feeling good about how things are going with plenty of cash in the bank, great employee morale and times seem good.  On the other hand, there are many companies who are still feeling the pinch of not being able to make ends meet, margins are miniscule and problems seem lurking.  This reminds me of a time when I once worked for a company that went from one extreme to the other, digging out of the depths of near bankruptcy and then positioning for a successful purchase by a major competitor who otherwise couldn't penetrate our market.  The ultimate profit margins we enjoyed were unmatched by our competitors and they just couldn't seem to figure out how we were being so successful.  The key to success was establishing a vision, setting a direction and then invoking a sense of accountability and measurements to keep everyone honest.  This was a culture that emanated from the top of the organization and penetrated throughout.  The CEO of this very successful turnaround had a couple a popular expressions that resonated throughout the company.  The most popular of all was "what get's measured gets done."  In the simplest of terms this philosophy held everyone accountable for the established objectives and made them transparent.  Internal quarterly board meetings were held throughout the organization at the regional and business unit level and we had better be on our game when all was revealed.  I always loved these meetings because everyone was held to a high standard of performance and you could see which individuals were "pulling the wagon" and who were the one's being pulled along by the rest of the organization.  Our objective was to create teams who wanted to pull the wagon and be rewarded for their accomplishments.  Today, Chief Executive Boards International posted our Key Performance Indicators for two reasons; (1) to hold ourselves accountable for driving value for our customers and (2) to promote transparency into how we are performing.   The phrase "what gets measured, gets done" still resonates from the success I saw permeate throughout an organization that once faced the abyss of bankruptcy.  Witnessing the experience of organizational metamorphosis is a thing of beauty if we have the courage to communicate the vision, set the objectives and hold ourselves accountable for meeting the goals we've set to achieve. 

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Kevin Minton
Chief Executive Boards International

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