Can You Have High Accountability If You Don’t Have Consequences?

"What should I do if the leaders in the company whom I need to make the decision come in late to the meeting?"

My question back to this was, "does this happen often or only with one person?" The entire group yelled out, "Our whole company is run like that. Everyone comes late to meetings." That comment alone let’s me know the corporate culture is one that talks about accountability but doesn’t enforce it.

You can not have high accountability without having consequences. I don’t believe in juvenile consequences like if you are late you have to sing, or if you are late you put money in a jar. Both of those consequences make people feel like kids and worse yet, if the late person can tolerate them there is no need to change their behavior.

Your consequences need to align with your corporate vision and goals. They need to be reinforced from the top on down.

There are far better ways to deal with this. The first thing I would look at is the blatant message people are sending that we have too many meetings that are not important so I can come late.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Review which meetings are relevant.
  2. Keep your meetings tight and too the point.
  3. Avoid "book report" meetings where people just recite what they are working on.
  4. Start meetings right on time and end on time.
  5. Tape the meeting and if a person misses the meeting or arrives late then have them stay after and listen to the tape. They soon get the idea that they will spend the 30 min regardless so being late is not an option.
  6. Address chronic late people privately and immediately. Then be consistent with marking down the times they are late and have it be a part of their review. Let them know it is unacceptable to be late.

Remember there are times that people will legitimately be late. The goal is not to eliminate lateness completely but instead to make meetings engaging and effective so all want to participate.

Take Action: Look at what you can eliminate from your meetings to shorten them up and keep them on point.

As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit,  or