The role of accountability in process improvement

by MPA03 Dec 2014
By David Lykken
Special to MPA

One of the biggest buzzwords circulating in the industry right now is something that's been on my mind lately: "process improvement." It's important to continually focus on making operations more efficient by breaking them down and looking at each step along the way. While there's a lot that goes into process improvement, I think one thing stands out above all the rest--people must know what they're responsible for.

Author and business process expert David Lord recommends what he calls a task matrix. Employees and tasked are listed on the matrix to determine who does what, and this information is shared with the entire team. That way, each person knows not only what he or she is responsible for but also what everyone else is responsible for and how it all fits together. With this kind of accessibility in expectations, the process can take of itself.

In the end, it all comes down to accountability. If each member of the team doesn't know exactly what he or she is responsible for, there is a good chance it isn't going to get done. Or, at the very most, it isn't going to get down very well. When expectations are clearly defined and people are held accountable for meeting those expectations, the process runs much more smoothly. Want to know how to fix a broken process? Start with accountability.


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