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How often does a challenge present itself to your employees and they respond, “Not my problem?” Or, are your short- and long-term strategic goals vulnerable to failure because no one is clear who is responsible for driving them within you company?

This passing-the-buck within an organization not only leads to poor performance and inefficiencies, but it ultimately results in poor customer service. To counter this, successful companies utilize special tools that address how an organization functions when faced with challenging scenarios.

One such fundamental tool is an accountability chart, says business coach John Ward. And when implemented correctly, accountability charts clarify who is responsible for what internal function, from who manages RFPs to who purchases the bathroom toilet paper. Ward, a certified implementer of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a set of simple concepts and practical tools that help entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses.

An accountability chart takes the guess work out of who owns a problem or responsibility by defining every function in an organization performed by a human, including the roles and responsibilities that need to be completed by that function, says Ward, a featured educator at the 2020 Executive Summit, Sept 16-18. At their core, accountability charts provide clarity about who owns the major functions of an organization and identifies the primary roles and responsibilities for which they are accountable.

“Once you’ve created this structure [within your company] then you populate [the accountability chart] with the right people in the right seats,” he says.

The lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent example of how an accountability chart plays out for an organization, Ward says. With health experts warning of a potential second viral surge this fall and winter, a “what if” accountability chart allows a business to pivot quick and act decisively in the face of this unique scenario.

“What if my business drops by 20 percent? How do I restructure my organization to deal with that?” he says, adding an accountability chart predetermines who is responsible for which actions when faced with this challenge. “What if my business drops by 40 percent? Who will do what and what functions can be delayed or eliminated while we [manage through] the crisis?

‘With the pandemic, we must be able to pivot without losing our core,” he adds. “You’ll need to make some changes in terms of staying on course and staying in business.”