Derek Neighbors

The more I learn, the less I know.

Personal Visualizing Accountability

By Derek Neighbors, Published on August 30, 2022

When you start to apply accountability to people. By That I mean, when you start to make things visible and you start to ask questions about things. It’s crazy how the world ends up working, right?

Say you have a service level agreement (SLA). Where you have to deal with this certain kind of problem in under four hours. So you start to measure that and you start to see, instances where that problem is not solved within, four hours. So you decide to add a buffer. Let’s only look at the ones that took longer than 24 hours.

So things that are six times worse than the standard. You put that out and you ask people involved, “Will you help me understand the SLA is four hours, but it took us more than 24 hours to do this. What could we do to improve? Help me understand, what’s going on here.” About half of the people start with, “Well, I don’t agree that this was really, a type of issue that we should hold to this standard”, or “it’s only 20 minutes longer than 24 hours.”

Some of them will respond with, “Why is it being singled out? Are we really being that nit picky?” or, “Is it going from the time that the issue comes to us or does the clock start when the issue is created? Because that’s not fair, we didn’t get the issue until an hour after it was created. It’s not fair if we’re waiting until the customers verified that this was fixed. We fixed it in 12 hours. It’s not our fault no one notified the customer it was fixed.”

When you look at all these things it’s amazing. When in reality, you’re just trying to understand the whole picture, the whole process. Where are there inefficiencies in the system? Can we fix those in. Looking at the system not just a single team and how they interact with this, but let look at how the customer experience is around this.

What’s funny to me is that half of the teams, half of the people start the conversation with, this isn’t my fault. Why are you picking on me? The other half starts with, you know what the problem is, we’re not doing this and we’re not doing that. And it would be really helpful if. So, I ask, when accountability comes to you, do you look through a lens of why shouldn’t I be accountable? Or do you look through the lens of how could I improve?

If accountability is about holding you to what you say you are going do and holding a level of integrity, shouldn’t it always be. What could I be doing to improve my results? Not why is the result not my fault? Food for thought.