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In this book, Connor and Smith developed an easy to learn, but comprehensive model to explain what accountability is, why it may be lacking, how to create it, and how to manage it. How Did that Happen teaches The Accountability Sequence. It's an ideal approach for organizations to create accountability for achieving results by holding others accountable in a positive, principled way. It teaches how to enable people to fulfill the expectations you have for them, while concurrently building a positive Accountability Connection. Below are the highlights of The Accountability Sequence:

  • How to apply the Accountability Sequence Model to day-to-day accountability interactions with others

  • How to use your Accountability Styles and hold others accountable in a positive way

  • How to establish expectations that people want to fulfill

  • How to manage unmet expectations and have the Accountability Conversation that leads to better, and more consistent results from the people on whom you depend

  • How to establish positive Accountability Connections with everyone in your Expectations Chain

  • How to improve your ability to hold others accountable in a way that motivates and produces results

How to Hold People Accountable for Results
How Did that Happen initially is bogged down in explaining why accountability maybe lacking your organization. Once you turn this corner, Connor and Smith outline their framework in two parts: The Outer Ring of establishing expectations and The Inner Ring of The Accountability Conversation to manage unmet expectations. The Outer Ringer of this framework explains how to establish expectations using four management techniques:

  • Form expectations: Creating framable, obtainable, repeatable, and measurable expectations of your workforce

  • Communicate expectations: Communicating key expectations with clarity, allowing people to understand what is expected and why it's important for them to follow through and deliver results

  • Align expectations: Creating and maintaining alignment around those expectations with everyone who contributes to the expectations

  • Inspect expectations: Assessing the condition of how closely key expectations are being fulfilled, ensuring continued alignment, providing support, reinforcing progress, and promoting learning to deliver results

Connor and Smith also provide invaluable assessments to assist managers during this phase of accountability with the following tools:

  • Accountability Style Self-Assessment

  • Clues to Assessing How Well You Form Expectations

  • The Deliberate Leader Self-Test

  • The Keeping-Up Quiz

  • "How Often I get Surprised"

  • Am I a Chaser?

How to Manage Unmet Expectations
Understanding that managing unmet expectations is most likely the hardest part of managing others, Connor and Smith explain The Accountability Conversation. What do you do when a worker isn't aligned to company or department expectations? How do you deal with a worker's competency problem?

The Inner Ring of The Accountability Sequence explains how to have the accountability conversation by using four solutions: training, accountability, culture, and motivation. The authors effectively provide you with a road map on avoiding conversation and cause killers, identifying the telltale measures of motivation, understanding the characteristics of accountability attitudes, and learning the triggers that move you from the Outer Ring to the Inner Ring. Connor and Smith provide the following additional assessment tools for managing unmet expectations:

  • How Strong is Your Cause?

  • How Conscious Am I? Self-Test

  • Which Way Does Accountability Flow in Your Organization

  • Culture Questions

  • Organizational Integrity Assessments

Connors and Smith have written another must-read business book that explains what accountability is, why it may be lacking, how to create it, and how to manage it. They provide invaluable models to explain how to establish and manage met and unmet expectations. As if this wasn't enough, they also provide self-assessment tools to help you determine your environment or situation, so you know what your next steps should be in managing expectations. If you're new to Connors and Smith's books, after reading How Did that Happen, you'll feel like you just came in to the last part of a trilogy, leaving you with a compulsion to learn what happened in parts one and two. Before you know it, you'll be reading The Oz Principle and Journey to the Emerald City.

About the Authors:  Roger Connors and Thomas Smith founded Partners In Leadership, Inc. in 1989. The company has grown to become the premier provider of Accountability Training Services around the world. They are the bestselling authors of the book, The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual And Organizational Accountability. According to their publisher, this book is in the top 5 bestselling business books in the 'Leadership' and 'Performance' categories, year after year, since 1994. It's become a classic and is in the top 30 bestselling business books in the last 15 years.

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