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In a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) under the League of Leaders initiative, leaders discussed ways to build accountable teams in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. To thrive and not just survive, businesses must transform to achieve growth and accelerate growth in new markets. LHH’s Leadership Accountability Gap Survey found that 73 percent of respondents believe that leadership accountability is critical to the success of their organizations, but only 31 percent said they were satisfied with the degree of accountability demonstrated by individual leaders. Meanwhile, only 27 percent of companies surveyed believe they have a strong leadership culture, and weak leadership creates risk across the organization. Some firms have moved away from traditional hierarchies to create networks of high performing teams to respond quickly to market changes and deliver on an overall strategy. These teams consist of members from across the globe, they are decentralized, they are cross-functional and members move in and out of teams on a continuous basis. Their success is driven by their shared values and culture – they have complete clarity and insight into the goals and projects they work on, and there is a free flow of information and feedback.

To build accountable teams in the VUCA world, these teams need to drive immediate business results and show measurable impact against the overall business strategy. In order for teams to be successful in driving transformations they need to have leaders who are committed to actual leadership – managing people, inspiring teams, addressing performance issues and building culture. Strong leaders communicate the purpose across the organization and down to the front-line staff, ensuring teams speak the same language of trust and have a sense of how they contribute to the larger picture. Another feature of accountable teams is they have the courage to talk freely, challenge and give feedback, and they acknowledge individual and group strengths, as well as address developmental areas candidly through feedback. Moreover, collaboration across teams, geographies or even across companies is the cornerstone of team success, and accountable teams are open to asking for help and proactive in creating knowledge sharing platforms among themselves.

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