Feedback Creates Accountability

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Sep 29, 2010

Here’s one of the accountability questions you submitted:

“To create a culture of accountability within our organization we want to make sure that we are offering proper feedback to the staff and management team. We are having discussions and coaching sessions more frequently but are wondering what your suggestions would be for handling the formal annual employee performance review. Our thought was quarterly reviews rather than just annual reviews to increase the feedback dialog and keep employees aligned with the corporate goals. What types of topics would you suggest on this formal review form or is there a better way to handle this process?”

First, current best practices suggest that quarterly performance reviews are much more effective and timely than annual performance reviews for the very reason you cited—to keep employees aligned with the corporate goals.

In our experience, the most important feedback you can exchange is what we call Focused Feedback—i.e., feedback that is focused on Key Results, Key Expectations, Accountability Best Practices, and new Cultural Beliefs,® when necessary. Whatever your team or your organization needs most—which often involves greater accountability and alignment for achieving key results—should determine the topics of your quarterly and annual performance reviews. However, even more important than the feedback exchanged during quarterly and annual reviews, are the Focused Feedback exchanges that take place daily and weekly as an integral part of doing business and your organization’s culture. Frequent Focused Feedback always accelerates and facilitates accountability and alignment for achieving key results—such feedback is one of the hallmarks of a Culture of Accountability.® Accountable people seek feedback (which facilitates taking that first step Above the Line to See It) and feedback creates accountable people.

One of our clients had been experiencing a slow decline in sales for almost a decade. Numerous turnaround attempts were made, but nothing was halting the relentless slide. Eventually, the company’s management team turned to Accountability Training.® Better late than never. Within a matter of weeks, the work teams and office locations that had received the training were beginning to turn things around. Their rallying cry was cryptic, but invaluable: “We’ve never talked this much about key results in our entire careers, but it’s working wonders.” Several months later, after everyone in the organization had received the training, the company’s decade-long slide had come to an end with a solid and steady upturn in sales. That’s the power of frequent Focused Feedback.

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