2. The Recommendations Report and a Group Workplace Assessment

Assessment Recommendations: Resolving “Lack of Accountability”

Rodd’s Free Workplace Assessment confirmed that the biggest problem he saw in his workplace was a Lack of Accountability. Fortunately, the Recommendations Report gave him some advice on how to deal with that issue. Here is an abbreviated summary of what Rodd received:

Lack of Accountability – Rodd’s highest scoring category

All four productive conversations are needed to improve accountability, so check to see which one (or two) you aren’t using on a regular basis and practice introducing it into your workplace conversations:

  1. Use Initiative Conversations to remind people of the team’s mission or goals, the important timelines and due dates, and why the goals are important to a bigger picture. I.e., What to accomplish, When to accomplish it, and Why it matters. If those aren’t clear – or if they are out of date – it is important to update them with your team. Talk with your people to clarify What your group is responsible for, When results should be produced and delivered, and Why it is important to the organization. Talk about ways to measure success, such as using milestones, timelines, and simple metrics.
  2. Use Understanding Conversations – have discussions with your team about what needs to be done to fulfill group goals. Then, for each necessary task or result, identify Who will do it, Where the resources will come from – and Where the results will go – as well as How it should be done. Get people’s input on what the network of people and interactions could look like, including what goes back and forth between individuals and groups – and what those products, services and communications should look like.
  3. Have Performance Conversations, both within the team and with outside players related to goal success, identifying any requests to be made for resources and any promises to be made for the team’s “deliverables” (products, services, and communications) to others. Identify team member agreements for What and When they will produce, send, and/or receive those deliverables to and from others. Specify Who and Where those “others” are. This is the first half of the recipe for accountability: people making good agreements to produce goal-relevant results by specific times in interactions with specific others.
  4. Have Closure Conversation to complete the agreements; this is the second half of accountability, and consists of using one or more of the “Four A’s”: 
    • Acknowledge the facts by stating what has happened, what has been done or not done, and what worked or didn’t work. Have regular (perhaps weekly at first?) reviews of the status of everyone’s agreements for specific actions and results, and track people’s success as well as the problems or barriers they encountered.
    • Appreciate the people involved for what they did or contributed. 
    • Apologize for any mistakes or misunderstandings that occurred. 
    • Amend broken agreements to be sure they are recognized as having been broken, and either altered to be more appropriate to new circumstances or taken off the table altogether. To accommodate whatever has happened since the last meeting, each meeting should make all necessary updates to people’s assignments and agreements with other players, as well as updating statements of goals, timelines and even the roster of team and external players.  

Rodd found this feedback both interesting and useful, realizing that if he had tracked this kind of performance over the past few months, he would have built a habit of accountability-reporting. He also saw that his weakest communication habit was a neglect of Closure Conversations. He resolved to find a way to those Four A’s at every staff meeting. 

A Group Workplace Assessment for Managers and Consultants

Rodd also saw the Workplace Assessment could be a way to find out what his staff saw as their biggest issues. He looked at the Group Assessment Overview page to learn more – it used the same 56-question survey as the Free Workplace Assessment, but it added up the responses of all group members, then calculated the average of the group’s responses to each question, providing a single group response.

Using this Assessment, Rodd saw that he would be able to learn about the most frequent workplace issues from the employee perspective. For example, if he used the 90-day Manager Subscription, he would be able to send one unique URL link to his entire staff – everyone in all five regions. Each person would be able to say how often they observed each of the 56 “non-productive” workplace situations. Their individual results would be kept confidential, added into the other responses and putting the group-averaged results in the Topline Report. Each individual, however, would receive a Recommendations Report based on their own top three issues and whichever conversations could resolve them.  

Rodd also looked at the 1-year Consultant Subscription, which included five unique URLs that could be sent to five different groups at the same time. Each group would get its own score-averaged Topline Report, so he could see different problems in different places.  

He called me again that afternoon and said, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I just spent over an hour looking at the Consultant’s Workplace Assessment and sketching out some ideas. If I got that Subscription, I could send one unique URL to all the staff in each Region. They could fill out their survey, and I could see what the problems are in each Region. Then, three or four months later, I could send them out again, re-using the survey link to get a follow-up on progress. Or”, Rodd continued, “I could send the second batch of links in a different pattern.” He listed his ideas:

  • Like maybe, one URL for just the managers and their administrative staff, because they get a bird’s-eye view of their whole Regional office and its challenges. 
  • Another URL could be sent to the Client Liaisons – the people who work with our job-seeking clients to help them with their resumes and qualifications to match them with an appropriate employer. 
  • Still another URL could be for the other type of Employment Specialist – the Employer Liaisons – who work with local employers to find out what skills they are looking for. 
  • Plus, another URL could go out to all of the remaining personnel in our whole organization – those people who talk with the managers and staff, clients, and people in the central and local government agencies or community organizations.”

Rodd was very excited about this opportunity to get a new look at StateOrg. He also thought it would be a good way to engage the employees in giving feedback on what they see in their workplace. It looked like a recipe to support the Regional people in having a better understanding of the whole system and perhaps opening new ways to work together on improving services and efficiencies.

To be continued…

  1. The Problem – and a Free Personal Assessment
    1. The Problem
    2. The Free Workplace Assessment: Reporting on “Lack of Accountability”
  2. The Recommendations Report and a Group Workplace Assessment
    1. Assessment Recommendations: Resolving “Lack of Accountability”
    2. A Group Workplace Assessment for Managers and Consultants 
  3. The Survey: Invitations and Results 
    1. Invitations to Take the Survey
    2. The Results Are In (Yes, there were Regional differences)
      1. ABCD Regions: Outdated equipment, Poor communication on change
      2. E Region: Quality and Training problems
      3. B & D Regions: Communication problems from staff cuts and restructuring 
      4. C Region: Too many unexpected “emergencies”
    3. Setup for Regional Meetings (Starting with Strengths)
  4. Sharing the Results and Holding Regional Meetings
    1. Sharing the Results: Emails and Attachments
    2. The Results Are In (Yes, there were Regional differences)
    3. Regional Meetings: The “Tackle First” List and the Conversation Groups
    4. Setup for the All-Staff meeting
  5. The All-Region Meeting: Implementation and Impact
    1. Introduction to the ‘Big Three’ Workplace Issues
    2. Introduction to Productive Conversations
    3. Problem-Solving – Before and After Lunch
  6. Problems and Solutions
    1. Work Plans and Next Steps
    2. Three Months Later: Follow-Up