The language you use is important. In addition to organizational reports and performance metrics, we're adding a component that will enable individual goal setting for leading indicators and are debating the words we use to describe the module.

A lot of people will use the word accountabilities. At first glance, it sounds good. "We are going to hold people accountable for their performance." Who's going to disagree with that? But if you put yourself in the listener's shoes, the onus is on someone outside to make the final call. Someone in a supervisory role is going to hold me accountable. So what happens when the supervisor isn't there?

That leads us to a variation where people will add the word "personal" in front of the word and talk about personal accountability. I think that's closer to the ideal. We want people to work safe whether they are under the watchful eyes of a supervisor or working alone. But what are you really doing when you hold yourself personally accountable? What you are really doing is accepting responsibility. Accepting responsibility for your position and any related roles that you have also accepted.

That responsibility translates into goals, objectives and ultimately, performance measures that are related to how a person contributes to the success of the operation. Our goal as a software as a service provider is not to collect data but to help people perform and therefore, we are going to build a performance support module where individual responsibilities from their job description (the position) and assigned roles (i.e. incident investigator) can be converted into measurable objectives. Our choice of language emphasizes that we want performance and that the performance is based on responsibilities that individuals have accepted.

As we use the word responsibilities - think of how it applies to other program elements, such as a worksite orientation. In the end, you aren't just informing people about hazards and things they will be accountable for on site, you are informing them of the specific site related responsibilities associated with their position and roles on site.

In the end, it isn't really about accountability - it's about performance, how individual's accept their responsibilities and how we convert them into useful measures that help everyone experience success.