Siloed accountability for organization-wide imperatives
I’ve been carrying the word ‘digital’ in my job title for many years already — what a sadistic little b*tch for a word! I can recall countless moments when all heads and torsos turned to me the moment this word popped up in a meeting.
If your job title carries a word such as ‘digital’, ‘transformation’ or any variations or equivalents of these, you might be familiar with the feeling of being forced into the position of the singular accountable person in the whole room for that what your job title suggests.
Therefore, I wondered for a long time: how do we solve for these unspoken conferring of siloed accountability for what should actually be an organization-wide imperative?
Is my mission your mission too?
At work, everybody has a mission! Everybody is also doing their best to make a difference. If that’s not the case, people are just either not at their best at this point in time or something is off in their immediate environment and this is impacting their motivation. And even when that’s the case, everybody’s got a mission still!
The stories people tell themselves by default about their role in the organization ultimately impacts their mission — and these stories are not merely the ones found in an employee’s talent files or performance objectives. These are stories programmed in people’s minds by past experiences and visions of the future. These stories are actually narratives with full-fledged plots, characters and sequence of events.
Such narratives are choices of events and characters to relate and the specific order in which to relate them. And why does it matter? Each and every one of us is accountable for shaping the narratives people tell themselves about their individual roles by default. Thus, each and every one of us is accountable for shaping everybody’s missions.
Is my mission your mission too? — by getting this one question to the top of our minds, we begin to understand how to transform siloed accountability into a collective sentiment towards organization-wide imperatives.
Co-creating moments that matter is the new viral
In social media marketing, social currency is akin to the quantifiable equivalent of word-of-mouth. It is all about the value created from people’s sense of community and established relationships with a brand. When well established, social currency plays an almost symbiotic role between the audience and the brands they represent.
Many might see social currency as a communications approach. Instead, what if it is a storytelling technique where the main character of the narrative is the very audience it targets its message to? And what if we thought of missions instead of brands?
Thinking about the audience’s journey and how it relates to our mission, we can create a collective sentiment of identity and belonging through continuous and consistent engagement, inspiration and empowerment. The moment our audience becomes the hero of our narrative, we have made our mission their own. We have reached accountability nirvana. Co-creating moments that matter is the new viral.
Collective intelligence takes over when everyone is accountable
Having a job title that frames you as the singular accountable person in the whole room for that what it suggests, can be paralyzing. The moment you feel it is the moment you should start asking “How can I help the people in this room become the hero in our mission?”
Start with listening but don’t stop at delivering! This is a process! Sharing instants of inspiration, a-ha moments, and experiences focused in giving autonomy instead of just offering alignment will allow you to foster a sense of common identity.
Sooner or later there will be a moment when heads and torsos will no longer turn to you when that word pops up. This will be the moment when thoughts will turn inwards, and they will become the next episode of your shared narrative. This will be the moment collective intelligence takes over, and you will know for real that everyone is accountable because it’s everyone’s imperative too! You will recognize this moment when you finally feel like everyone is charge.
When this happens, remember to celebrate the hero in you too! 🙂