company culture

Want Results? Own it… and share the load


In all the work we’ve done with teams across dozens of clients, what separates the high-performing team from a collection of people with a job to do: accountability. 


Harvard Business Review sums it up best:

·       In the weakest teams, there is no accountability 

·       In mediocre teams, bosses are the source of accountability 

·       In high performance teams, peers manage the vast majority of performance problems with one another. 


Setting mutual accountability as a ground rule builds trust, ensures ownership, and strengthens the culture.  When done well, team members can ask each other for project updates, feel comfortable providing quality feedback and have a shared sense of ownership for getting things done well.  


When done well, there’s an agenda for a team meeting, and all members feel a responsibility to deliver on their commitments, and challenge peers when deadlines are missed, or quality isn’t up to par.  On these teams, leaders facilitate the dialogue, but are not solely responsible for team performance.


Here are tips to build accountability on your team:  

 1.     Promote a culture of shared accountability and ongoing performance feedback

2.     Create an abundance of clarity with all team members; you expect them to hold themselves and each other to high standards of execution and delivery

3.     Use scorecards (KPIs or OKRs) or dashboards to track commitments and activity

4.     Ask each team member for their point of view on the work in progress, whether it’s their responsibility or not

5.     Nurture trust with your team, regularly soliciting and providing feedback without repercussions.


Want more tips on building high-performing teams? Check out our website and subscribe to our newsletter.   


Building An Intentional Culture


Written by Catherine Cummings, CEO

“People are our most important asset.”

“There is no I in team.”

“Our talent is our competitive advantage.”

We’ve heard them all, and (ideally) in every company we’ve been lucky enough to work in, they truly believe each statement. But rarely do I meet the CEO and head of HR who have taken the painstaking (and worthwhile) time to answer the critical questions about the organizational culture they intend to set:

WHY should someone work at your company?  

WHAT can they expect from their team and organization?  

WHO are they?

Companies aspiring to be a compelling place to work while simultaneously preparing for scalable and profitable growth spend time asking themselves those questions-- and creating a unique career value proposition for talent to thrive in. Sure, there may be a poster on the wall with values crafted at an offsite leadership team meeting,  but that doesn’t mean the words on the wall mirror the day-to-day reality and rarely are those values then used as a foundation for organizational culture decisions..

Why should executive teams take the effort to create an intentional culture?

If you don’t, it gets created for you. Without clarity of expectations and norms, your team will react to each situation without context. The results? Perceptions of favoritism or special treatment, and before you know it, you’re cleaning up people problems that were completely avoidable.

Culture frameworks minimize mistakes in hiring, promoting and structuring teams.  You’re more likely to both attract and select talent that will thrive in your organization, improving retention and likely discretionary effort. The confidence in your hiring process and low turnover then fuels scalable growth-- a win-win.

Clarity is king.  Ambiguity is the enemy. In the absence of information, people will make assumptions, and handling thorny people issues becomes even more difficult.  When there’s clarity around who you are as an organization and how you expect your team to collaborate, accountability is vastly improved.

Culture frameworks streamline all human capital decisions. Where (and how) you invest in your talent requires thoughtful consideration. For example, Some companies waver for months (or years) on the best approach to something as straightforward as a time off policy or tuition reimbursement. With a framework in place, the decision and tradeoffs become far more clear.


Making Moves with Procured Health


By differentiating themselves amidst the rapidly changing healthcare tech industry, Procured Health reached a growth point that most small companies only dream. With a workforce three times larger than it was a couple years ago, Procured Health was confident they had identified the best and the brightest in the industry. With this kind of rapid growth, they wanted to proactively uphold their values to guide them in making business decisions and improving employee performance. After all, large growth spurts often incur large growing pains such as regrettable turnover. In order to circumvent potential cultural issues, they needed help codifying and clarifying their organizational values.

They understood the most important rule of corporate culture: if you do not set an intentional culture, with clarity around “how” work is approached in your company or team, it gets created for you. Further, if you don’t like what was created, changing that culture is both time consuming and costly.

Through our refined discovery, ideation, decision-making and make-it-stick methodology, we were ultimately able to recognize the essential cultural foundation of “how” they approach their work, which drove their success, enabling them to scale with confidence and clarity.  

The Discovery

SparkWorks assessed the current state of the organizational culture and aligned the cultural values that their executive team associated with their workplace engagement drivers. Incorporating a company-wide online survey, facilitating focus groups with employees, and having one-on-one meetings with the executive team ensured all voices had multiple opportunities to be heard, and we could surface and make distinctions between the “real” culture and the company-speak.

The Ideation

In playful yet challenging ideation sessions, our team helped the executive team hone in on the true differentiators which made their workplace different from their talent competitors. Further, we drilled deeper, defining the behaviors that aligned to each value so the employees could understand why they mattered and how they could live them out.  

The Decision-Making

By bringing in our team of culture consultants, we facilitated robust and direct conversations, challenging Procured Health’s executive team to improve specificity and seek breakthrough outcomes, making decision-making easier and providing clarity on multiple points of view.  In the end, the framework and supporting statements were thoughtfully considered to be of maximum impact and value to the team. 

Making It Stick

It was important to the executive team that the company found ways to build the values into their day-to-day operations. They wanted to be intentional on how they were built into the culture and didn’t want to end up being the company who only plastered their values on the wall and forgot about them. 

Managers were fully involved in the rollout, receiving specific training and guidance to fully understand the meaning of the values so they could help integrate and drive the organization towards a unified goal with the values being top of mind. They have also since built a recognition program centered around these values and are currently in the process of building them into their performance management system.

Procured Health’s efforts to clarify a great “cultural fit” gives them a competitive edge. By spending the time upfront to define the values whilst still being a small company, Procured Health now has the framework  in place to identify the early warning signs of when someone might not be a good long term fit, which in the end saves a lot of time and money.   


About Procured Health

Procured Health is at the forefront of helping health systems achieve the best clinical outcomes at an optimal cost by making clinical evidence accessible and actionable. Providers across the U.S. rely on Procured Health's technology platform to make better decisions on spend and usage of medical devices, supplies, and drugs. For more information, visit Procured, find us on LinkedIn, follow @ProcuredHealth on Twitter and like us on Facebook.