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Inspired by Asana
A Framework to hold your teams accountable to big, hairy, audacious goals
Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana, employs a unique management meeting structure designed to foster both psychological safety and accountability among senior leaders.
The approach that Asana employs unfolds in a weekly all-hands meeting each Tuesday. During these meetings, each team leader publicly announces their commitments, specifying milestones they pledge to achieve by a particular date. This is performed in a setting that includes peers, direct reports, executives, and the CEO—thereby eliminating any scope for ambiguity.
Following the commitment phase, leaders review their previously set milestones, acknowledging the outcomes. For example, a team leader might declare, "Three weeks ago, I committed to shipping this feature by Thursday, and I did ship it on Thursday."
Applause and high-fives are shared freely on these occasions. Notably, leaders who fail to meet their milestones are neither ostracized nor penalized. Instead, the culture emphasizes support and constructive feedback. Leaders who don't meet their commitments are required to furnish notes explaining the reasons behind their shortfall and any other pertinent details. This is followed by a collective brainstorming session where advice is generously shared.
The brilliance of this framework lies in its blend of psychological safety and accountability. According to research by Edmondson (1999), psychological safety can be a catalyst for innovative problem-solving and learning, which is likely why Asana's approach has gained traction.
To incorporate this framework within your own organizational context, consider the following actionable steps:
Schedule a recurring, organization-wide meeting for the purpose of discussing and committing to milestones. Ensure that the atmosphere is conducive to open dialogue and psychological safety.
Set up a system to document these commitments and their outcomes, facilitating transparency and future review.
Develop a culture that promotes constructive feedback over punitive measures for unmet commitments. Encourage team members to offer advice and potential solutions in such scenarios.
Reinforce that the primary aim is to engender an environment that unites psychological safety with accountability, resulting in a holistic approach to organizational development.