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Accountability 101: RMMA

Accountability: RMMA

RMMA. What is it really?

In organizations, “holding someone accountable” has come to mimic the criminal justice system. Wherein, an individual is not only asked to account but also defended and prosecuted. The judge and the jury are those ‘in power’ i.e. leaders, and in some cases, our peers as the prosecutors.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that criminals should not have consequences for wrongful acts. 

What I am saying is putting an employee through an interrogation process, after they have owned up to their mistake, is often misconstrued by them as “I did something wrong, must be punished” and so “the next time I am asked to confess, I will consciously or unconsciously blame, feel guilty, or find fault”. In other words, be unaccountable.

It’s no wonder RMMA has gotten a bad rap. 

Individuals are reluctant to hold themselves accountable, and the environment in which they work is viewed as an unforgiving and misunderstood one. Let’s begin talking about RMMA by discussing the etymology or root words “account” and “accountable.” If you look up the word account in several dictionaries, you will get versions, which require a person to provide an explanation.

An example of a definition of “to account is to report or describe an event or experience or give a satisfactory record of something, typically money, that one is responsible for. The two words describe and satisfactory invites judgments, which not only derails RMMA conversations but deflects ownership for results,i.e. individual and organizational goals.

The definition of “to account”, from TRCG’s perspective, is to report the facts of what happened, i.e. what you did or did not do. Period. Of course, to be able to account, you must know the results (measurable) to be produced, and the key actions, tasks, or activities to do to meet them. In other words, there must be an agreement, with yourself or another. Here is an example of how an individual accounted for missing their agreements:

Agreement 1

Write and publish four articles per month to be posted on a blog and other social media outlets for marketing purposes by the third week of the month. When asked to account after missing the deadline she accounted by saying what she did, that prevented her from keeping the agreement, i.e. “I ignored the request for the articles and kept on writing.” She also shared what she did not do. She said, “I didn’t communicate that the articles would be delayed for four days.”

Agreement 2

Submit your monthly report by October 31st. When asked to account after missing the deadline she accounted for it by saying I waited for a response and forgot about it and what I didn’t do was follow up.

By accounting factually several times, a person can begin to see a pattern of behavior that allows them to be unaccountable. In the above case, the pattern is to ignore and then maybe blame. Instead of telling the “truth” that they did not communicate. Can you see how easily being unaccountable can be?

In another example, the agreement was to deliver three quotes each month, and guess what? When she was asked to account, she didn’t communicate, ignored the request, and kept on researching. Same pattern, different agreement.

Take a moment for yourself and account for a result (agreement) you may have missed.

Remember no explanations and justifications. Then see what pattern of behavior develops. If you are keen on it, give the process of accounting a try and email me at: patricia@trcgconsulting.com. I would love to hear your examples.

Before you go, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Accounting is the first step in accepting RMMA. (We will discuss this in the second article).
  2. When you account it is for a result/outcome versus a task. Be clear about the result/outcome.
  3. Focus on oneself. Not only on the “steps” you took to produce the result but your behaviors. This will lead you to a pattern that can now be corrected by you as professional development related to the competency of RMMA.
  4. To account, state what you did that prevented you from producing the result and also what you didn’t do.

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