When it comes to building accountability in organizations, what differentiates good from great? Many leaders wrestle with this question. The wrestling typically sounds like this: Why don’t people follow through on their commitments? I don’t like to micromanage, but how else can I ensure things get done?
I love hearing these questions for two reasons. First, they reveal a commitment on the leader’s part to managing effectively and delivering results. It appears as a complaint, but behind the complaint is this deeper commitment to excellence. Second, there is a body of management theory and practice devised specifically to handle this situation. It’s called promise-based management or speech act theory. The basic idea is that human beings make things happen through language. Words don’t just describe reality; they actually bring it into being. There are particular ways to talking—conversations for action—that are the vehicles through which we act. If we want to become more competent at such conversations, it helps to understand the key elements that comprise them. We call these “speech acts.” [Read more…] about Accountability requires authentic promises