One big thing about this blog post from HBR caught my eye: The author emphasizes the role of culture in accountability. Instead of looking at deadlines and performance plans, the author suggests that a culture of accountability has to have room for failure. Projects and initiatives fail all the time, it’s a part of life and a part of the process of finding the right answer. But if your culture is so risk-intolerant and so bent on “punishing” those who don’t get it right the first time, where is the incentive to innovate or try something new?
Obviously, there are a lot of ways that we don’t want the federal government to take on unnecessary risk. But doing what we’ve always done and getting what we’ve always gotten is also a risk. Can the government find a way to differentiate between accountability and blame?
Additionally, (and perhaps this is a dangerous question to ask) does our era of highly-partisan politics, fear of making the front page of the Washington Post, and a perpetually outraged Congress drive our current federal workplace culture?