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Crucial Accountability - Coming This Fall

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“She always said ‘Don’t play ball in the house.’”

Remember when Peter Brady missed the trash can with his errant right hook and broke his mom’s favorite vase? Peter avoided admitting his wrong doing because he was afraid he’d miss out on a camping trip with his friends. Of course, ducking accountability only made it worse.

When we make mistakes or let someone down at work, we can get the same feeling in the pit of our stomach that Peter did. And it’s not much fun being on the other side of the situation, when someone you are counting on falls short. In those moments, the gap between what’s expected and what actually happens is where accountability lives.

How we communicate about and follow through on issues of accountability is perhaps one of the trickiest parts of being a professional in the workplace. It’s also one of the most important. Unfortunately, for most adults it doesn’t come naturally. That’s why Lehigh’s Workplace Learning team is excited to offer a new program from the makers of Crucial Conversations. It’s called Crucial Accountability.

Judy Zavalydriga, Director of Employee Relations and Workplace Learning, has been certified to teach Crucial Conversations for several years. Now, she has added the Crucial Accountability program to her qualifications.

“Since launching Crucial Conversations at Lehigh, we’ve trained over 100 employees in the art of safe and productive communication,” Judy notes. “Now we need to go to the next level and learn together how to communicate about accountability.”

The Crucial Accountability (CA) program will be open to all employees who have completed Crucial Conversations. “Accountability builds on Conversations,” Judy explained. “In Crucial Conversations, you learn the skills you need to create a sense of safety in your communications about tough issues. This includes dealing with facts, not the story we may have constructed in our mind, to explain why someone does what they do.”

Three Steps and Six Sources

In CA, there are three important steps to holding people accountable:

  1. Identify the gap between what was expected and what actually happened,
  2. Diagnose the source of the gap,
  3. Build a framework to remedy the situation.

When it comes to diagnosing the gap, CA identifies six potential sources, all of which can be contributing to the issue in some measure. It’s important to determine which sources are involved so that you’re really solving the problem when you move on to the third step. “Once you find the place where the expectation broke down,” Judy said, “you are in a productive conversation.”

The two key sources are motivation and ability. These are further divided along into three categories: personal, social, and structural. 

Not Just For Supervisors

Communication is a two-way street. Crucial Accountability, like Crucial Conversations, is a program intended for both employees and supervisors. It’s important for everyone on either side of an accountability moment to have the ability to resolve the situation productively.

“The new program is also a good opportunity to re-gather our Crucial Conversations graduates so that they continue to practice what they’ve learned,” Judy adds. 

Register Now For Crucial Accountability Or Crucial Conversations

The first Crucial Accountability class is scheduled for mid-November. If you have already completed the Crucial Conversations program and would like to be part of the inaugural class, speak with your supervisor to ensure that you can be away from your office for two half-days.

The next session of Crucial Conversations starts in February 2014. This program requires a commitment of four half-days (one per week over four weeks). Again, it’s important to discuss taking this amount of time away from the office with your supervisor prior to registering.

Use the HR Online Registration Tool to sign up for either program.

For more information, you can watch the video below from VitalSmarts, creators of the programs.

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to hik210@lehigh.edu, or call extension 85165.

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