The 12 Areas of Organizational Culture: High Accountability Standards

An organization’s effectiveness is a reflection of it’s culture. This blog series will explore the 12 areas of cultural assessment that Goodnight Consulting has developed to evaluate an organization’s culture. To watch the overview video, go here.

“Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.” -Zig Ziglar

Defining Questions

Are individuals and organizations rewarded for success?

Are there consequences for failure?

Is there ownership of actions and decisions?

“Success Has Many Fathers; Failure Is an Orphan.”

We were working at a site where many leaders were not carrying out annual performance reviews of their employees. Although often decried, this is a core responsibility in nearly any organization. After digging deeper, we learned that in the past, inferior performance reviews at this site had been subjected to significant pushback. The sources of this pushback included senior managers, labor union representatives, co-workers, family members and others. The bottom line was that those who gave poor performance evaluations were confronted with emotionally difficult pushback. Many abandoned their responsibility and gave up on the performance review process entirely. Other gave high reviews for low or acceptable performance.

Unsuccessful managers are often unaware or uninterested in the problems around them. The extremes at the top and bottom of the Ladder of Accountability illustrate how an accountable person with a “make-it-happen attitude” is powerful, and how a victim who is unaware or who blames others is powerless. Employees working under these kinds of managers often feel like they are on a ship without a rudder. This situation often results in mistakes or gaps in performance. Poor performers fail to improve if there are no consequences. This also impacts the morale of other employees and can dampen their performance in turn.

Ways to Improve Accountability

Own mistakes.

Recognize and reward success, especially the “trivial things.”

Apply reasonable consequences for failure and inferior performance.

Goodnight Consulting maintains a confidential, proprietary database of cultural assessments, which we use to develop benchmarks for our clients. Our evaluations are based on decades of experience in the utility industry. If you find that your organization is weak in one of our 12 areas, please contact us to learn how we can help you improve.

12 Areas of Culture

Goodnight Consulting has identified 12 areas of culture that help define a successful organization. You can read about the other areas of culture here.


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