On a Super Bowl-level football team, personal and joint accountability is shown clearly in the offensive line. Their performance in this key Orgametrics® alignment construct has helped put their teams in the Big Game.
How is deep joint accountability obtained in a highly aligned offensive line?
Each member of that line has specific duties to block a certain person or be ready to support a teammate. Before and after the snap, they make adjustments to blocking schemes which transfer responsibility on the fly.
When one lineman fails, the line fails and the offense fails.
Offensive lines consistently and intentionally practice together and with their teammates in other tribes (running backs receivers and quarterback) to build up continuity, accountability and alignment. They communicate, look at film to develop best practices, hone fundamental technique and remove barriers to success so they are empowered to do the best they can.
Having the best talent at each position is less important than working strengths and weaknesses of each individual together into a cohesive, coordinated unit. Of the teams in Super Bowl LII, there are only two linemen selected as Pro Bowl starters out of 20 linemen spots.
Joint accountability doesn’t allow others to act ways that don’t meet the expected bar of performance yet helps each progress to that level if it’s needed. Offensive lines of Super Bowl teams, almost always, have those levels of expected performance set very high. Each lineman has complete confidence the other men will perform to that base level so the rest of the team can count on them.
Offensive lines and their work is a perfect example of why we believe joint accountability is important for an organization to be aligned with Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan.
In our Orgametrics® Assessments, joint accountability scores are usually significantly lower than personal accountability scores. We suspect Super Bowl offensive linemen have a narrow personal/joint accountability gap, if any.
We work with clients to raise accountability scores as well as narrow the gap between the two. How can joint (and personal) accountability be developed within your organization?
- Establish expectations and, more importantly, regularly enforce them.
Humans, whether little kids learning what their boundaries are or adults actively or subliminally looking to find how far rules and processes can be stretched, will generally act in a manner they identify as acceptable by those in authority.
- When personal or joint accountability is shown, praise it personally and in front of the group.
Don’t be frugal with this praise, as long as it’s genuine and the actions meet or exceed the established bar. Being too frugal may lead to resentment by others who feel they are meeting the standards but don’t feel appreciated. Regularly showing where that bar of performance is serves the same purpose as what’s described above, but positive boundaries are proactively provided.
- Call out poor accountability, and take proper, corrective action.
Consider various factors when setting up a structure to manage employees who don’t act in an aligned manner and when others around that employee fail to properly support them in the moment, or afterwards. Having hard rules and procedures will mostly likely backfire. There will be nuances and leaders will almost always never be totally correct with their decision, especially when considered against other similar instances.Be fair and consistent. Highlighting proper actions and connecting what was done to those standards, laying a path to reach the bar, may be the best option in the long run.
- As the leader, be open to being held accountable from above, and below.
It can be a bit daunting to let yourself be held to a standard, and be given constructive comments/criticism about how you are not meeting expectations. Being open and humble is a high-level, emotionally intelligent state.
- Raise the bar as joint accountability increases and the organization becomes more aligned.
Consider raising the stakes in what it means to be connected and aligned when solid personal and joint accountability and performance to mission and vision becomes more commonplace. Your team will be ready to take on the challenge and serve their stakeholders even at higher levels.
Good luck to the teams in the Super Bowl and the linemen that make their offenses excel.