Agile organisations have cultures in which employees are accountable for their responsibilities and behaviours and feel empowered to make decisions that further organisational success. As I discussed in an earlier blog post, Accenture has identified nine factors for fueling enterprise agility. Of those, three are particularly driven by accountability. Culture is one of those three.

Accountability is tightly linked to empowerment. When you empower your employees to make good decisions and act on them, you’re helping to set the foundation for an agile culture. Information delivered quickly and experience-based input, no matter who it comes from, leads to fast turnaround times and better solutions―strategic imperatives for the financial services industry.

The characteristics of an accountable (and agile) culture

Not surprisingly, accountable (and agile) cultures mirror the accountable leadership I described in my previous blog post. In these cultures, employees embrace ownership of their actions and work toward a clearly defined, shared vision. Everyone is a decision maker and has a sense of responsibility for achieving organisational objectives. Importantly, those closest to the work know what needs to be done, and their input is valued. Agile organisations are learning organisations in which mistakes are embraced, absorbed, and lead to solutions.

How to nurture accountability, empower your people, and become more agile

You can help your firm develop a culture of accountability and empower its employees by creating a work environment that’s based on the following principles:

  • Teamwork provides the foundation: work is conducted through self-managing and project-based teams.
  • Teams and work are organised to allow for failure and iteration, which enables innovation.
  • Communication is pervasive, ongoing, and supported by grouping employees together in common areas along with using messaging and other digital tools.
  • Managers challenge, support, and guide rather than track work progress.
  • Performance is evaluated based on productivity and end results, not hours clocked.
  • Every employee has access to a common set of enterprise performance data and goals, which increases transparency―thereby enabling trust and accountability.

In my next blog post, I’ll explain how you can create a living business by establishing an organisational structure based on accountability.

For more information about agility in financial services, please see Accenture’s reports:

Enterprise Agility in Financial Services: The New Strategic Imperative

Three Waves of Change: The Financial Services Journey to Enterprise Agility

Talking Agility

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