The Next Leap Forward Isn’t Just Innovation

Teams of Distinction do not sit around waiting for orders at every turn. They develop a mind of their own; a mind that serves as a compass for what to do as they encounter unforeseen opportunities and challenges. Some people call this an “innovative” team, others an “empowered” team. We call it an accountable team.

Many teams aren’t accountable because team members don’t feel compelled to be accountable. This might be due to a lack of alignment. Other times, it is because team members are not held accountable or they aren’t clear on who is responsible for what. Even worse, multiple people may feel in charge of the same thing and are embroiled in conflict over it.

We worked with a growing pharmaceutical research company. The management team was not mature in age or experience. We sat in on meetings where they would literally discuss eight different topics in 15 minutes. After the meetings, nothing happened. No one was clear about their responsibilities, goals, or direction. Everyone left feeling like these meetings were a waste of time — because they were! There was no accountability.

So, to help them get started, we implemented RACI charting with the team. RACI charting is a simple way to assign people accountability. For each major task/decision, the team defines:

  • R – Who is Responsible to do the task?
  • A – Who is Accountable for making sure it gets done/has veto power on decisions?
  • C – Who needs to be Consulted so we make the best decision?
  • I – Who should be Informed about the things we’ve done?

In the next meetings, for each topic, we had the team to stop and ask these questions. The resulting clarity unlocked the team’s power, improved the team’s morale, and got them moving forward quickly. You can easily do the same with your team and move forward to becoming a team of distinction.

Lawrence Polsky
Lawrence Polsky
Lawrence Polsky is co-founder of Teams of Distinction, a world-renowned firm focused on creating and enhancing organizational cultures, and building teams that collaborate with near perfect synchronicity. He spent 20 years in OD & Learning, teaching thousands of professionals worldwide. His lifelong education in human behavior began at the age of 9 at the kitchen table. With a Master’s in Organization Development, and post-graduate work focusing on the impact of emotions on communication, problem-solving and relationships, Lawrence prides himself on bringing his kitchen table wisdom to boardroom roundtables. He has helped leaders improve results at technical and scientific companies such as Facebook, Pfizer, Dell, Intuit, Bayer, and NASA. You can reach him at or (609)333-0653.


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Susan Rooks

Oh, team meetings are the bane of our existence, @Lawrence Polsky! I like the RACI concept, which gives the structure needed to succeed.

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