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Interchange - August 2022

B U I L D I N G A  C U L T U R E O F I N T E G R I T Y    

What does it mean to have integrity?                    

What is a Culture of Integrity?

 M A N A G E M E N T  

  • MANAGEMENT is the structure of explicit agreements that define what each person is accountable to produce.  

  • MANAGEMENT is the “source” of the integrity of an organization.  

  • MANAGEMENT is highly structured (leadership and coaching are not).  

  • MANAGEMENT systems “keep score” and provide the information needed to effectively lead and coach people.  

  • MANAGEMENT needs “quantifiers” (such as KPI) to eliminate the confusion of interpretation.    

  "The key to growth is to learn to make promises and to keep them."

Stephen R. Covey    

E F F E C T I V E M A N A G E M E N T  

Producing Results Through Explicit Agreements.    

Request - asking for what is wanted.



Has a time frame      

Promise - committing to a future action.

Decline - to refuse a request.  

Counter-offer - to alter that request.

K E Y P E R F O R M A N C E I N D I C A T O R S  

What’s a KPI? A key performance indicator (KPI) is a management tool. KPIs are not goals. KPIs are measures used to gage the progress toward the organizations’ purpose (mission), operational or department goals, & strategic goals.

Key performance indicators, when not linked to the organizations purpose, can lead to perverse incentives and unintended consequences as a result of people not understanding the real purpose behind the measures or working to manipulate the specific measurements at the expense of the actual quality or value of their work. In other words, Leadership must precede Management.

Although in some instances organizations use qualitative indicators, the best and most precise KPIs are quantitative indicators that are both specific and measurable. This means they can be represented with a number or a simple yes/no statement and therefore are not subject to human interpretation and disagreement.

Many organizations use process indicators that measure compliance with or the efficiency or effectiveness of a process. Process indicators can be very informative and powerful if used in conjunction with or in the context of outcome indicators that reflect the outcome or results. Measuring results is the only real gage of effectiveness and informs users of their progress toward the organizations mission, departmental goals and strategic goals. Measuring only process goals may feel safer to some because people can be assured that “I am doing it right” but only outcome measures really inform users as to whether they are “getting the job done”. Any initiative to develop effective KPIs should always begin with outcome measures.

There are 2 distinct outcome indicators: lagging indicators and leading indicators.  Lagging indicators measure the ultimate success or failure of the goal post hoc, or after the conclusion of activities. Leading indicators measure the potential success or failure well in advance of the ultimate (lagging) outcome measure.

In addition, input indicators are critical in ensuring that an activity, process or project is sustainable. This is because input indicators measure the amount of resources consumed during the generation of the outcome.

Once the categories of KPI’s have been established, future targets must be declared. Targeted KPIs have a timeframe in the future. They can be 5 years, 1 year, quarterly, monthly, weekly… even hourly.

I n o r d e r f o r K P I s t o b e e f f e c t i v e , o n e i n d i v i d u a l m u s t p r o m i s e t o b e a c c o u n t a b l e f o r e n s u r i n g t h a t t h e f u t u r e

t a r g e t e d K P I i s a c h i e v e d .

S U P P O R T I V E A C C O U N T A B I L I T Y  

“If only people around here were more accountable for results”

“Managers don’t hold people accountable here”

These are a couple of the complaints we hear frequently from both organizational leaders and staff. We all know that accountability is a key ingredient to the success of any organization. Why then does there seem to be such a widespread absence of accountability?

A large part of the answer lies in the frequent misunderstanding of the word and the concept itself. Accountability is often equated with blame when things go wrong. Often when the cry is heard “someone needs to be held accountable” it really means someone needs to be fired. Equating accountability with blame and subjecting people to negative feedback that undermines their sense of pride in their work is counterproductive. Recent studies have shown that performance reviews that focus principally on blame for performance problems are de-motivational. Productivity has been shown to suffer for months after such a review. This explains why people dread reviews and why many managers avoid doing them.

Another factor in the absence of accountability is the theme that they (not I) aren’t accountable. Accountability seems to be something that others are lacking. It is rare indeed that an individual thinks that they themselves are lacking in accountability.

The root of the word “account” gives us the first clue to the most productive definition of accountability. Accountability involves simply keeping an account of results produced compared to results promised. That is it. It is the basic act of clearly stating actual performance. Nothing more. If an accounting is to be done, there must be clearly agreed upon KPIs that measure a person’s effectiveness in their job.

Reviewing the accounting of actual performance compared with promised performance reveals that the person is succeeding in some areas and failing in some areas. Black and white; no blaming, no excuses.  This objective review of the promises a person has made sets the stage for a plan to improve performance, a coaching discussion.

A system of rewards (for better than promised performance) and consequences (for worse than promised performance) can be an effective mechanism to reinforce accountability by individuals sharing in the proceeds of both successes and failures… but such a system by itself will not bring accountability about.

All the above defines and describes accountability. But what about the supportive aspect? What is it that is being supported? The simple and superficial answer is the person… but the deeper answer is that person’s commitment to their goals.

When leadership engenders this level of commitment from and within people, they will embrace being held accountable for results. Effective management then becomes a natural support for the attainment of each person’s commitment. They want to make the promise because the result is important to them, and they know that having someone hold them accountable is a good way to support their personal success.


  1. Be rigorous about your personal integrity. In all things; do what you say you will do. When you “give” your word, honor the agreement.

  2. Be on time for all meetings as a demonstration of integrity.

  3. Make requests of people. Make sure they have permission to say NO. Gain their promise.

  4. Follow up with people to support them in honoring their promises to you. Do so before and after the deadline they agreed to.

  5. Use a personal management system (like Outlook Tasks or Google Tasks) to keep track of both: (a) The promises you make to others. (b) The promises others make to you.

  6. Recognize people for good performance at the time it happens.

  7. Recognize people for poor performance at the time it happens.

  8. Use performance reviews to create supportive accountability.

  9. Make sure that performance reviews are balanced. That they address both strengths and weaknesses.

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