Building Accountability in Process Improvement: Setting Realistic Expectations

One of the main concerns most organizations have when doing process improvement is how to make sure the changes made are being followed. Building accountability is key to sustaining the success of any process improvement efforts. But having people make a commitment and be responsible for something new to them can be a little tricky, especially when it requires eradicating behavior that has been built for years. 

Building accountability is one of the most challenging parts of process improvement. But once done right, it sets everything else in motion. 

We’re dedicating this month to sharing with you how to build accountability in process improvement, and it all starts with setting realistic expectations.

Framing your expectations

We have a clearly defined process, we have trained on it, and we seem to think there is no reason why it shouldn’t be followed. When a process isn’t followed after training was done, we can be hard on ourselves and our people. But what every leader should know is that this situation is normal. We don’t just implement something and expect it to work perfectly. 

Setting realistic expectations for yourself as a leader 

What I often see in teams I am working with is that their expectations of themselves are so high. When doing training, for example, if you are in a position of authority, you feel as though you should have all the answers. Because your expectations for yourselves are so high, you tend to view needing more information and more findings as looking bad. The power of training is it allows you to listen for where the gaps in understanding are so you can go and fill them. This way, you can find ways to further improve and serve your people better. 

Setting realistic expectations for your team

Process improvement is more than just a strategy. It is a culture. You are not just giving employees a checklist of things to do for them to tick off.  You are asking them to change how they do things and how they think. It’s not going to happen overnight. 

Cultivate a growth mindset

Something to really keep in mind is to cultivate a growth mindset. Where we get held back is where we feel as though an implementation has to be perfect. And if it isn’t, we have to go back and start over again.

When improving processes, your approach is to implement, listen, take feedback, and implement again. It’s not that you did something wrong, and you need to go backward and fix the mistakes that were made. It’s that you did something well, then you observe the current state (how your people are dealing with the changes), and then you fill the gap. You are moving the needle forward, not backward.

Operations are designed to be indefinite. It requires continually coming up with ways to improve your processes to serve your people better. This is how you build compliance. This is how you build accountability. 


In love and respect,


Hilary Corna


Hilary Corna

Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Founder of the Human Way ™...

Hilary’s favorite title is HUMAN.


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