Extraordinary success is accomplished when multiple people working on a multitude of tactical objectives toward a common goal are able to coordinate their actions — and pull in the same direction — because they have established trust in their colleagues and counterparts by being able to take them at their word.

If at first blush it seems obvious, it’s actually quite novel.

While coordinated action, in literal terms, is the ability to coordinate the contributions of many toward a singular goal, the most critical facet in aligning these efforts is our ability, as leaders, to say what we will do and do what we say. This is imperative to not only the success of executing our plans but also maintaining accountability with those we lead.

At any company, a leader sets forth visions and goals and maintains momentum. So how can leaders coordinate large-scale strategic plans — and nurture a culture where colleagues can trust that their counterparts are just as dedicated to achieving an intended result — if everyone inside an organization cannot be taken at their word?

The key to successful coordinated action lies in the operational context that dominates one’s life: Are you committed to honoring your words over circumstances? If you are setting forth a strategy or executing any number of action items but continually point to circumstances undermining your best efforts, it becomes obvious that you can’t be taken at your word. And despite all modern advances to assist in productivity, accountability is still the most important metric for success that, culturally, you’ll find in any organization.

Scott Beckett is an Insigniam partner. He serves as a member of Insigniam’s Design & Innovation Team and is a member of the Management Committee, responsible for consultant talent acquisition. 

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