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Accountability – Driving Better Decisions

Accountability – Driving Better Decisions

There is a reason why the 11 players on a football team are assigned particular positions on the field. Just as having too many chefs in a single kitchen isn’t beneficiary for getting a meal prepared. Roles guide us to playing our part and providing the needed input. Roles are also needed in decision-making.


Everyone thinks they’re responsible and accountable, in reality no one is. Am I being consulted or just informed of what was already decided? My colleagues should be consulted about the decision but they’re not. Poor communication, badly defined responsibility and no hands-on the actual doing.

Motivation is higher when you know what role to play in the decision-making process. Should I contribute to producing insight and carry out actual tasks? Am I in charge of the process or simply receiving need-to-know information? What is expected of me? What role do I have in this? What has been assigned to someone else to execute? Does someone have the final say or the right to veto? Knowing what the actual game is and what part I’m supposed to play help to drive good outcomes.

While smaller teams can have more informal rules to keep track of responsibilities, bigger teams with cross-department and external participation collaboration benefit from clearly assigned roles. It helps reduce confusion and leads to faster results, better commitment, and more effective execution. Accountability is the route to focusing on what is essential.

Assigning roles to the participants ensures that everyone knows what is expected from them. When people and their skills are invited to collaborate, they must be assigned roles accordingly.

Well, how to do this? RACI is good. It describes the participation by various roles in processes and projects. It is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities in decision-making.

A is for Accountable, and the buck stops here. Each decision is assigned an accountable decision-maker, with the final decision-making power.

R is for Responsible, the persons actually doing the work, the doers, those who get the job done. They are the real workhorses of a decision. The responsible person participates in the collaboration of decision-making and takes responsibility in the execution of decisions.

C is for Consulted, those whose opinions are sought and who are kept in the loop. You have expertise that is needed for the decision. In this respect you are expected to play an active role, but in regard to other as­pects and details you can relax.

I is for Informed, the ones who are kept up to date on the progress, kept in the picture. The informed person needs to know about the de­cision or action, but requires only one-way communication.

 Remember to

·         Keep decision groups large enough to avoid tunnel vision, but small enough to preserve close-knit dynamic.

·         Ensure that everyone knows what is expected from them.

·         Clearly defined accountability and responsibilities contribute to commitment.


Collaborating to reach a solution is an extremely vital part of the social decision-making process, it is the beginning of better decisions. Accountability is the key to getting the most out of true collaboration!

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