The Power to Act: Accountability Part Two of a Four Part Series

April 21, 2016

In case you missed it, last week we published an article defining the Power to ACT and what it means to us here at Volano. Click here to check it out. This week we’re diving into “Accountability” and what it looks like as a holistic part of a culture and workflow.


Lack of accountability in an organization can be fatal in business. Without a culture of accountability, leaders get weighed down and forced into micromanaging. If they’re stuck looking over shoulders and picking up slack, how is anything supposed to actually get done? Lack of accountability holds an organization in maintenance mode and makes growth nearly impossible.

The idea of a culture of accountability is rather vague though, right? People doing what they’re supposed to do. If you’re a leader, you want to know how to take action. How is accountability infused into a culture and what systems are used to foster and maintain a culture of accountability? So, we like to show people what accountability looks like in action, through the work of one of our favorite clients, Planet Water.

A number of years ago Volano was lucky enough to be introduced to Mark Steele. Mark is our kind of guy, he’s entrepreneuric, he has a grand vision, and he’s interested in the greater good.  Mark runs a foundation called Planet Water and their mission is making sustainable clean water in developing areas around the world readily available.

The Planet Water organization builds sustainable clean water towers around the world. They have their system down. They can install a tower in as little as one day on-site. Impressive right? But the trick is to ensure that all the components are staged and ready when the volunteer team shows up in a remote Indian village. Organizing, managing, and orchestrating these efforts around the world was causing Mark to lose sleep. One missed step means the mission is off track in a big way. The impact of roadblocks in an effort like this are felt deeper, and carry more weight than your average workflow snag.

Volano worked with Mark to find a solid, dependable solution. We collaborated with him to create a workflow that made the organization, management, and orchestration seamless.  Accountability became part of the system. All tasks, team members, and their status became visible. Mark now has peace of mind knowing that all the “nuts-and-bolts” have been handled.  That ‘mental weight’ has been lifted and now Mark can invest his full energy into the Planet Water mission…not ‘nuts-and-bolts’.

When organizations embrace a culture of accountability and use the tools necessary to enforce it, the aggravation of micromanaging expectations is gone, teams move forward seamlessly, expectations are clear, efficiency increases and things get done -towers get built. Please also tune into the Volano blog next week when we dive into Collaboration.