Accountability is meaningless without consequences

Former US Secretary of State, Collin Powell made a powerful observation when addressing the 2009 Global Leaders Lecture series. He said, “Everyone in a team knows who is and who is not performing, and they are looking to you as the leader to see what you are going to do about it.”

Making performance visible with is part of the solution. We then need to "close the loop" by making sure we follow up and discuss performance with our team each and every week: 

If we don't acknowledge the people in our team who are performing well, they can feel unappreciated and unrecognized. If we don't confront the people who are under-performing, we create a culture where it is OK to be mediocre.

I often say to clients that, "Accountability is meaningless without consequences". And, "Consequences go both ways"

  • What should the consequences be for people who are performing well?
  • What should the consequences be for people who are currently NOT performing well?


For more information, see our management training courses to learn our best practices for setting up and managing Metrics, Projects and Tasks.

Stephen Lynch

Head of Strategy and Consulting


PS: We are looking for your best practice ideas to help us all perform better. What do you do that works well in your organization? Please add your thoughts to this discussion forum below. We welcome your ideas and experiences so we can benefit from each other's wisdom.

Was this article helpful?
3 out of 3 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request


  • 0
    Stephen Lynch

    From Tony Sharrock

    Accountability is meaningless without consequences is an excellent topic to discuss. 

    Those who do well in a company or any other kind of organisation must be recognized openly among their associates. Once a week a meeting is held and those who preform well get a gift of wine or whatever.  The recognition is clarified by a statement from the CEO for the achievement of a specific person and how their actions of performance has benefited the company  

    Those people who have not performed the following process takes place.

    What tasks in the employees job prescription are not being met.  Secondly, why is the employee under performing,  and how does the company and the employee together address the unfortunate turn of events.

    Often the employee is in a job that is one level above his performance capabilities. Other challenge can be failure to connect with his/her team colleagues or would like another challenge within the corporate structure.  

    Most important is to recognize qualities first, then address the challenges. The success of under performance can only be achieved if both parties are willing to work together to reach favourable outcomes. 

    Tony Sharrock   


Please sign in to leave a comment.