The HOT Plan™ : Beyond quality control: Positive Accountability


I like to see the good in people.

It’s my belief that most people truly want to do a good job. Maybe some people are motivated to do a good job because they see their work as a reflection of themselves. Perhaps others find joy simply in the satisfaction of a job well done. Either way, when involved with work or projects they care about, most people love to excel.

But even when motivated to excel, nearly everyone needs some form of accountability to help them do their best. Accountability may seem like a tool of enforcement for deadlines and quality control, but in reality, it does much more. Positive accountability empowers excellence.

Accountability empowers excellence when supervision provides support, guidance, teaching, and timelines to keep things moving along in a timely manner. There is great positive power in accountability.

Accountability, in its purest sense, is implicit in the agreement of two or more parties to work together to make something happen. This agreement begins with a contract between those who offer to pay a fee for work to be done, and those who collect the fee for performing the job. The moment the contract is signed, accountability springs into action by virtue of the expectations of both parties.

Positive accountability systems translate contract-based expectations into a partnership of accomplishment.

Unfortunately, accountability systems are not always positive; in fact, far from it. Many such systems seem to be based in mistrust rather than partnership. Even the word “accountability” brings up negative images for many. These negative images are so pervasive that when workers from a random sample were asked to define accountability in a survey reported in The Oz Principle: Getting Results through Individual and Organizational Accountability, nearly every person responded with negative and harsh terms. The definitions chosen by workers involved threats, high pressure, and “pay-the-piper” tactics by supervisors. Even though supervisors must ensure that work gets done, good accountability systems offer a better way than high pressure, coercive techniques.

Good accountability systems go beyond monitoring and nudging; good accountability systems also provide support for great work. The HOT Plan™ seeks to empower such a system; a system that brings out the best in everyone as teams focus on achieving the Must Win Challenges of their organization.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, how positive is the accountability in your organization?

For more about Positive Accountability and how to put it to work in your workplace, check out my new book, The HOT Plan™, that is available on Amazon in eBook or print versions. For special bulk pricing (10 or more books), please visit Visit for more details about The HOT Plan™.



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