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Building Accountability and Commitment
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Building Accountability and Commitment


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This is a set of ideas and methodology based on Peter Block's work that supports the creation of a culture of chosen accountability and commitment. It is premised on partnership and personal choice, …

This is a set of ideas and methodology based on Peter Block's work that supports the creation of a culture of chosen accountability and commitment. It is premised on partnership and personal choice, and radically different from traditional skinnerian approach to change.

Published in: Business, Education

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  • 1. An Engaged Workforce: Chosen Accountability and Commitment
  • 2. Engagement is the individual and collective choice of how we choose to be together
  • 3. Accountability and Commitment are the essence of an engaged workforce … caring for the whole without expectation of a return…
  • 4. Accountability hinges on three conditions…
    • It must be chosen
    • It depends on the strength of peer relationships
    • A new conversation is what brings the future into the moment
  • 5.
    • There is a shift in Thinking
    • There is a shift in Strategy
    • There is a shift in Tools
    For Engagement to Occur
  • 6. Shifts in Thinking
    • Shifting from problems to possibilities
    • Seeing our projections as a matter of choice, not fact
    • Inverting cause and effect
    • The role of staff and leaders
    • Focus on the gifts and relationships
    • All change is linguistic
  • 7. The shift is from Parenting to Partnership
  • 8. To create chosen accountability and commitment, the critical task of leadership is to be intentional about the way we group people and the questions that we engage them in.
  • 9. The nature of the conversation shifts the moment we believe that conversations of: Invitation replaces Mandate Ownership replaces Blame Possibility replaces Problem Solving Dissent replaces Lip Service Commitment replaces Barter Gifts replaces Deficiencies
  • 10. Each conversation needs to be customized with its own set of questions.
  • 11. Invitation
    • An invitation is not to sell, to gain ‘buy in’ or to ‘roll out’ something. An invitation is asking others to choose to join you in what you’re trying to create.
    • The meeting becomes the first example of the future we want to create.
    • The room is a metaphor for the whole, physically and psychologically.
    • The room is the visible expression of the kind of learning and community we plan to create.
  • 12. Possibility Conversation
    • Traditionally we
      • identify the problem, do the root cause analysis, fix the problem
      • Talk about goals, targets, “…from…to…”
      • Roll it out to the organization!
    • Instead, think in terms of …
      • “ What is the possibility I stand for?”
      • “ What is the crossroads that we’re facing?”
      • “ What do we want to create together?”
    • The future becomes an emergent strategy instead of a fixed destination.
    • Possibilities are born in declaration and gain power when made public.
  • 13. Ownership Conversation
    • Ownership is the decision to become the author of your own experience.
    • It is to be cause rather than effect.
    • Ownership involves renegotiating the social contract
    • The shift takes place when people name their contribution to causing what they are complaining about
    • Think in terms of - What have you done to contribute to the very thing you complain about or want to change?
  • 14. Dissent Conversation
    • “ No” is the beginning of the conversation for commitment.
    • If we cannot say no, our yes means nothing. Early in every gathering, there needs to be space for dissent.
    • It is OK for others to have doubts and concerns. We want to make room for the doubts and concerns to be expressed openly, not left to quiet conversations in the hallways, around the copiers, or in the restrooms
    • It is the public expression of doubts, even statements of No, that shifts a culture and builds accountability and commitment. We will let go of only those doubts that we have given voice to.
    • The question to consider is, “ What is the refusal you have been postponing?”
  • 15. Commitment Conversation
    • Commitment is a promise made without expectation of return and without an investment in the approval of other people’s responses .
    • It is one thing to set a goal or objective, but something more personal to use the language of promises. Consider two kinds of promises:
      • My behavior and actions with others
      • Results and outcomes for my unit
    • The question is, “What is the promise you are willing to make, with no expectation of return?”
    • We become accountable the moment we make them public.
  • 16. Gifts Conversation
    • Change and an alternative future occur by capitalizing on our gifts and capacities.
    • When we look at deficiencies, we strengthen them.
    • Rather than telling people about…
      • what they need to improve
      • what didn’t go well
      • how they should do it differently next time
    • Confront them with their gifts. Talk to others about…
      • the gift that you’ve received from them
      • the strength that you see in them
    • Consider the question, “What is the gift you continue to hold in exile?”
  • 17. The context in using these ideas…
    • All transformation occurs through language.
    • Transformation occurs in infinite number of small steps.
    • We need to capture the quality of aliveness and need for it to evolve in an organic way.
    • We need to see power in small but important elements of being with others.
    • What works is not impressive powerpoints or video broadcasts, but how connected we are when we are together.
    • Relationships and engagement go hand in hand.
  • 18.
    • For more information and articles you can visit
    • These ideas are also found in the following books by Peter Block
    • - The Answer to How is Yes
    • - Community: The Structure of Belonging
        • Abundant Community