When you work in an excuse-driven culture, how do you change the mindset and teach others to become accountable?
Unfortunately, the most effective method for me to implement quick changes in attitude is through forcing it. That almost always requires “executing a hostage in front of the firing squad”.
Words are the first step. Accountability has to be taught as an expectation. You tell employees that your business expects them to be accountable, which means doing everything THEY can do to fix a situation rather than concentrating on what someone else should have done to avoid it.
I teach that they only have control over themselves, and they will get the most accomplished by concentrating on what they DO have control of (themself) rather than what they DON’T have control of (others).
Once they know you expect them to be accountable, you have to hold them accountable. That means no exceptions to the rules, no favorite employees who get away with things, and unequal punishment. It also means having pre-determined punishment for violations to documented rules, and making sure employees are taught those rules and sign an agreement to follow them.
Once the rules and the punishments are in place. The only thing left is equal and fair enforcement. Even a tough boss will be seen as fair if everyone is playing by the same rules. The bad attitudes most often come when there isn’t enough accountability, and people are allowed to break the rules. Then, employees who follow the rules are the ones who feel slighted, and they end up being the ones who leave. When rules are fair, and enforced consistently, the bad employees are the ones who leave.
Any time a situation gets bad, I’ve found it’s often necessary to fire someone to get compliance from the rest. This is especially necessary when there has been an extended lack of rule enforcement.
When I observe an “excuse-driven” culture, it almost always means there is a lack of consistent enforcement of the rules.