The acronym 'CPR' that the authors suggest in the book 'Crucial Accountability' is very helpful and easy to remember for directing an accountability conversation - Content, Pattern, Relationship.
Content - the content of a violation typically deals with a single event or situation. For example, "you were 20 minutes late starting work today."
Pattern - the next time the problem occurs, we need to talk pattern. The same violation is happening over time, it is not a one off event. For example, "you have been more than 20 minutes late for work three times in the past 10 days." The book suggests that 'frequent and continued violations affect the other person's predictability and eventually harm respect and trust'. Most of us will be able to recall examples where patterns of breaching codes of conduct have resulted in a loss of trust.
Relationship - as the problem continues, talk about the relational effect of the actions. The consequences for relationships are much bigger than the content or the pattern. A pattern of disappointments causes a loss of trust and creates tension and strain, and eventually breakdown in relationship. For example, "because you have been late for work a number of times in the last few weeks, other staff are having to stay late to cover for you and are missing out on important family time."
This simple way of addressing an accountability conversation is very helpful. Often we repeatedly address the same issue with a colleague or employee without ever moving past the content to the on-going pattern and relational consequences. Continued problems may have significant relational affects - for other colleagues, subordinates or clients. It is worth having these difficult CPR conversations to create healthy working relationships.
Question to Ponder:- Do you have any current accountability conversations where you could apply CPR?