The Savant Business Management System harmonizes the 5 most critical areas of your business – Foundation, People, Strategy, Execution, and Control. With all companies, the last four areas must sit atop a foundation and that foundation is comprised of your company’s leadership team alignment, meeting effectiveness, leadership mindset, and your company’s purpose, values, and culture which we addressed in the first two postings. In our last two posts we discussed People, and more specifically the Employee Experience and Organizational Health. We will complete the People area of your business with a look at the importance of both Functional and Process Accountability.

Functional Accountability

Functional accountability refers to the responsibility of individuals within an organization for the performance and outcomes of their specific functions or roles. It involves clearly defining and assigning roles, tasks, and objectives to different functional units or individuals within an organization and holding them responsible for fulfilling those responsibilities. This clear definition of the assignment of roles is best summarized in a functional accountability chart.

Functional Accountability Chart

A natural question to ask is how does an accountability chart differ from an organizational chart? Organizational charts are subsets of functional accountability charts. Organizational charts focus on who reports to who but lack clarity regarding the major functions of the organization, and who is accountable for what. Accountability charts provide clarity around who owns the major functions of an organization and identify the primary roles and responsibilities for which they are accountable. There should only be one leader for all major responsibilities, and everyone should understand that – functional accountability charts help provide that clarity (see example below).

More on Functional Accountability

Functional accountability ensures that there is a specific leader for each functional area (or department) within an organization that is accountable for achieving its specific goals and objectives, as well as contributing to the overall success of the organization. For example, in a typical organizational structure, there might be separate functional areas such as finance, marketing, operations, human resources, and sales, each with its own set of responsibilities. Functional accountability is often established through clear functional assignment, job descriptions, performance metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that define the expected outcomes and targets for each functional area. These metrics and targets can be quantitative, such as revenue growth, cost reduction, or customer satisfaction scores, or qualitative, such as adherence to regulatory standards, employee engagement, or innovation initiatives.

Functional accountability promotes efficiency, effectiveness, and collaboration within an organization. It allows each functional area to focus on its specific responsibilities, leveraging its expertise and resources to achieve its goals, while also aligning with the broader objectives of the organization. It helps create a sense of ownership and responsibility among leaders and employees, as they are aware of their respective accountabilities and are motivated to contribute to the overall success of the organization. By holding individuals and functional areas accountable for their performance, organizations can drive results, improve decision-making, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Process Accountability and the Process Accountability Chart

Process accountability refers to the responsibility of individuals for the actions and outcomes of a specific process or set of processes. It involves ensuring that the process is carried out in a transparent, and efficient manner, and that those involved in the process are held accountable for their process component responsibilities. Like functional accountability, process accountability involves clearly defining and assigning each of the key processes that run your company to individual leaders and holding them responsible for fulfilling the expected outcome of each process. This clear definition of the assignment of the key processes is best summarized in a process accountability chart (see below).

Elements of Process Accountability

The concept of process accountability is particularly relevant where processes are integral to achieving desired goals and outcomes – like your business. Here are the key elements of process accountability:

    1. Documentation: While you may not be satisfied with the current state of the processes running your company – don’t worry about it! Start with identifying and assigning the leaders in your company closest to each key process then set a goal for each to have the current state documented.
    1. Clarity of responsibility: Once each key process has been identified and responsibility assigned to its leader, it is crucial to communicate the company the stated processes and those responsible in the form of a process accountability chart.
    2. Transparency: Process accountability requires transparency in the execution of the process. This involves clear communication of the steps involved, decision-making processes, and the criteria used for evaluation.
    3. Performance measurement: Establishing appropriate metrics and indicators to measure the performance and outcomes of the process is important for accountability. These metrics help track progress, identify areas for improvement, and provide a basis for evaluating individual or organizational performance.
    4. Review and evaluation: Regularly reviewing and evaluating the process helps identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This includes assessing whether the process is achieving its intended objectives, complying with relevant regulations or standards, and addressing any identified issues or concerns.

Conclusion

So far in this series we have covered the fundamental importance of leadership team alignment, meeting effectiveness, mindset, purpose, values, and culture. We have also just completed the People area of your business with our discussion on Employee Experience, Organizational Health, and Functional and Process Accountability. Next, we will introduce Strategy with an emphasis on strategic thinking and execution planning.