From the Ask Tom mailbag – related to the post on Reprimands and Individual Accountability vs Accountability for Output.
Accountability for output travels down levels of work, with each manager accountable for the output of their team. Individual accountability travels up levels of work, with each individual accountable for bringing their full commitment and discretionary judgement to do their best.
The emphasis on the last comment was on Output, which is typically an end measure. Where is the emphasis on Input? The Input of each member of the team (the level of tasks and work) directly correlates to the Output measurement. What about having each be accountable to not only measure their daily input of work but also use those metrics to improve upon their own performance? That will impact everyone’s Output.
There is appropriate discretionary judgement at every level of work. Meaning, there is appropriate problem solving and decision making at every level of work. Most decisions relate to pace and quality. The work product related to pace and quality turns out to be output.
Let’s blow apart full commitment and discretionary judgement related to Elliott’s contract.
- The team member is accountable (individual accountability) to come to work everyday, with their full commitment, using their discretionary judgement, to do their best.
- If the team member’s output is behind schedule (pace), they should inform their manager ASAP.
- If the team member’s output is ahead of schedule (pace), they should inform their manager ASAP.
- If the team member’s output is below the quality standard (quality), they should inform their manager ASAP.
- If the team member’s output is above the quality standard (quality), they should inform their manager ASAP.
- If the team member is unable to do their best (that day), they should inform their manager ASAP.
Nick Forrest calls this feedback loop, “best advice.” Each team member is obligated to give their manager “best advice” related to their output.
With “best advice,” the manager is in a position, and has the authority to make adjustments to schedule, bring in more hands, authorize overtime, call the customer and delay the output, stop production to re-tool, add an inspection process, scrap out-of-spec production. The reason the manager is accountable for the output of the team is, the manager controls all the resources. The manager understands a larger context of the work, and has oversight. That comes with accountability for output.