My gift to you: my system for running an accountability workshop

accountability workshop change leadership change management Jun 04, 2023
Lata in a gold and purple top smiling; text: My gift to you: my system for running an accountability workshop

Sometimes on a change, it can be hard to get decisions and approvals in a timely manner and in the worst cases, at all! Clear accountability, decision-making and governance is the bedrock of successful change delivery. Sometimes a RACI Model will be done for the project decisions, but the change work might have slightly different stakeholders. Or you might have new stakeholders who literally don’t know where they fit into the picture and where their accountability lies. Other times, you might get people who think they have more power and authority than they do. And then you get people who don't want any at all. 


RACI is a commonly known and used accountability decision-making framework or model in projects, and features in the PMBOK Guide. It stands for: Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform. There's different versions of this model, but this is the one that I use.  


  • R - The Responsible is the people who are actually fully responsible for signing off and deciding on the outcome. 
  • A - The Accountable is the people who are actually going to do the work. They're responsible for making sure it actually happens. Sometimes the A is the R, but whatever, this is the model that I use. There's different options out there. 
  • C - The Consult, so they have no decision-making authority, but they should be looped into the conversation and their input should be invited, even though they're not going to sign off on it and they're not going to deliver it. You might only meet those people once every couple of months or once every month, or when there's key workshops. They might be the Compliance team or the Legal team or the Sales team. And they just come in to just be across it, give their input, help see that perspective or that different point of view, give a bit of advice but they have actually no decision-making authority. 
  • I - The Inform is the people who have no decision-making authority at all, they're not even really going to be responsible for doing any of the doing. They won't actually get their hands involved at all, but they should find out the outcomes or they should be kept informed along the way.


Running an accountability workshop

If you're starting on any change, you could obviously run a RACI session with them. Usually the Project Manager would do it. But you could run a RACI session based on the Change stuff. For example, if you've got a group who needs to review comms, you could run a RACI session on who's going to be responsible for the comms, who's going to be accountable, etc. When you have a lot of new stakeholders, that can be a really great way of decluttering what role people are going to play.


And always try to run it as a workshop. If someone senior sets the RACI and it’s your job to let the stakeholders know their role, you’ll likely go back-and-forth with them and they may also shoot the messenger. If you yourself go around to everybody individually to find out what role they think they should play, they don't hear from each other. So often having each other in the room, they will respect what each other says. It's really hard to put together a RACI when you are having individual conversations with each stakeholder. You could put together a suggested one, but you at least really need to have everybody come into the room and agree who's going to be signing off on things.

For a change that I was worked on when I first started in Change Management, the organisation was doing waves of restructures and stakeholders kept constantly changing. The project helped me a lot in mapping the RACI for Change, because they needed people from the business and knew the organisation better given I was brand new. We just kept the Stakeholder Register up to date, and kept swapping out Stream Leads. Those Stream Leads were the ones who were Responsible. It was their job then, to find the people who were Accountable to do the actions for their stream. And then we had to just keep swapping stakeholders out. But in a mature organisation where people are accountable and do take on the responsibility, it actually works pretty well. People want to have the right level of responsibility for their role. And if you can help them get there and do that, then that's great. They'll actually appreciate you for it.


Lata xx


P.S. If you’re ready to step up into your leadership and your light, here’s 4 ways I can help:

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