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Matrix Management Wiki

2T. The Accountability Portfolio

  • 2T1. Although accountability can be negotiated at any time between a team leader and a team member (or between two leaders, two team members, or a customer and a supplier), accountability can only be assigned by the coach.
    • 2T1i. Individual and team accountability are commitments that are voluntarily made by a leader or a professional.
      • 2T1ia. In order to work cross-functionally, team members need to be free to determine what accountability they can take on over and above the commitments they have already made.
      • 2T1ib. If an individual does not believe he can make a particular commitment, he can opt out of the team, unless he is assigned the accountability by his coach.
      • 2T1ic. Opting out of team assignments will affect the individual’s accountability portfolio. (See Section 2T.)
  • 2T2. The coach can override the voluntary commitment made by a direct report if the coach’s organizational accountability makes it necessary to assign or reassign accountability to the direct report.
    • 2T2i. To assign accountability means to override the direct report’s choice in whether or not she wants to accept either individual or team accountability. This should not be done lightly and only when needed to fulfill organizational accountability.
    • 2T2ii. The direct report must accept the assigned accountability because the assignment of accountability is part of the employment agreement.
      • 2T2iia. Subcontractors are not subject to these rules and can refuse an assignment.
      • 2T2iib. The assignment of accountability is one of the reasons to choose employees over subcontractors.
  • 2T3. An assignment of accountability might arise in the following circumstances:
    • 2T3i. When there is a difference in opinion between a team leader and a team member and the coach must step in to resolve the dispute.
    • 2T3ii. In a situation in which organizational accountability must override the team member’s individual or team accountability, or when a team member does not voluntarily accept team accountability and it’s in the best interests of the organization that he does so.
  • 2T4. The assignment of accountability should be used infrequently. If individuals do not want to commit to achieving a goal or producing a deliverable, it’s probably because the goal or deliverable is not realistic or doable.
  • 2T5. The power to assign team and individual accountability to a direct report is counterbalanced by the coach’s individual accountability for the success of the direct report. Therefore, he cannot assign accountability that will cause the direct report to fail, as he, as the coach, will thereby also fail.