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Matrix Management Wiki

2O. Unconditional Accountability

  • 2O1. Unconditional accountability1 means that once accountability is defined and committed to, it is locked in and binding.
    • 2O1i. Accountability is measured by comparing the results to the commitment:
      • 2O1ia. If they match, accountability is achieved; if they fall short, accountability is not fulfilled.
    • 2O1ii. Unconditional accountability removes excuses for not producing the agreed upon outcomes.
  • 2O2. Even though the accountability commitment is unconditional, an accountability agreement can be nullified under certain conditions, such as when strategy or priorities change.
  • 2O3. What unconditional accountability does for an organization:
    • 2O3i. Ensures accountability will be clearly defined up front, because there is no getting out of it after the commitment is made.
    • 2O3ii. Shifts people from being assigned accountability and then being blamed for what went wrong (VM 1.0 accountability) to being empowered adults who make commitments they are expected to live up to.
    • 2O3iii. Focuses everyone on making something happen, rather than finding excuses and placing blame.
    • 2O3iv. Focuses the organization on learning, rather than faultfinding.
    • 2O3v. Forces teams and individuals to be proactive so as to avoid failures.
  • 2O4. Unconditional accountability rules:
    • 2O4i. Rule #1: The goals must be achievable.
      • 2O4ia. People will not voluntarily accept unconditional accountability for unrealistic goals.
      • 2O4ib. Set people up to succeed, not to fail.
    • 2O4ii. Rule #2: All three types of accountability: organizational, team, and individual accountability, are unconditional.

[1] Unconditional accountability was invented by George Kenning, a management consultant who developed a set of management principles that focused on unconditional accountability for results.