POPin Blog

Anonymity Versus Accountability

With “anonymity” comes new depths of engagement, but there are actually times where “accountability” will become the primary engagement driver. We have already talked about anonymity in another blog about student engagement, but this rings true in a lot of different circles. When you feel free of judgment, you can actually speak your mind. Engaging your team to their fullest potential should always be at the forefront of your mind. But how can you do that if they are scared to speak up? Anonymity, that’s how! A great example of when anonymity is the best choice for discussion would be when dealing with sourcing a problem. No one wants to stand up and say ‘this is what is wrong with our product.” They tend to fear pointing out the pain points. But of course, everyone knows that is a vital step to finding solutions. If you can’t uncover and acknowledge a problem, you can’t fix it. That’s where anonymity comes into play. Give your team a chance to speak up without fear of punishment or judgment. On the other hand, however, accountability is also a huge part of engaging your team. When you are trying to come up with a solution to a problem, accountability is important because you need credibility. Plus, people want to take credit for their winning solution. Mirriam Webster defines accountability as “the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” Of course we would want to take ownership and responsibility for the solutions. We want to help our company thrive and prosper. So how do you decide between anonymity and accountability?   Here are some questions you might consider asking in an anonymous circle:
  1. What processes or policies are inhibiting your ability to achieve our corporate goals?
  2. What sensitive topics should be discussed in our next offsite meeting?
  3. Why are we failing to meet <insert product name here>’s revenue and market penetration goals?
  And here are some questions you would want to ask in an accountable circle:
  1. How can we fix <insert pain point here>?
  2. Imagine it’s next year and we achieved all of our goals…how did we get there?
  3. What new product/market opportunities should we address next to stay competitive?
  So what are your thoughts on the subject? Do you have a preference over staying accountable or anonymous? Or do you prefer a balance of both? We’d love to hear what you have to say.