(Preview) New Culture Concept: Count-On-Able

Chapter 6 starts off with a play on words with the intention to shift the heavy baggage of the term Accountability. Shifting the negative thesaurus connotation of “to hold someone accountable” as “to place blame for wrong doing” to the “Ability to Count” - to have one’s work matter and make an impact.

Shortly after the publication of Culture Works, I realized a new play on words – one that lands even better for teams. The next time you meet with your team to discuss accountability, share with them that what you mean by the word accountability is that everyone on the team is “Count-On-Able.” Meaning you can all be counted on, and count on one another, to get your work done and follow through on commitments. You can also count on one another to seek help or renegotiate a commitment prior to a commitment going unfulfilled.

Then start a dialogue. Ask:

  • “What can we each be counted on for?” Give everyone a few minutes to write down their thoughts. To include everyone, go around the circle (you may want to get the ball rolling with what the team can count on your for.) Anticipate more individual based answers such as “You can count on me to politely hound our late payers to bring in A/R” or “You can count on me to bring in my grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies!” or “You can count on me to bring a “can-do” attitude to my work.”
  • What do we need to be able to count on one another for as a team? Capture responses on a flipchart/whiteboard. You may receive answers like “showing up on time to meetings,” “get our work done,” “meet deadlines,” “being open and honest with one another,” or “asking for help.” Then follow-up, “Of these, where are we truly ‘count-on-able’ and where do we still have some work to do to get in alignment?”
  • As a team, what can we be counted on for by the rest of the organization?
  • What’s one area/opportunity that you personally could step-up to be more “count-on-able?”

No doubt this dialogue will lead to some interesting discussion and shine a light on areas that need attention – just make sure to also highlight and praise what’s working.