Sharing the why, the value proposition, for what you are asking others to do can be an effective lever for setting up accountability.  Value propositions seek to solve a problem and satisfy a need for a customer. When people know how their part of the job contributes to the value offered to the customer, and how their work directly impacts the customer’s perceptions, expectations and outcomes, they are much more likely to deliver their part of the work on time at the required specification and participate actively in improving results.

Before you ask for something from a direct report or a peer, take the time to think about how the product of that person’s efforts will impact the customer. What is the value it will deliver if it meets their needs? Even if the work product is for internal use, the end user is a customer.

Most products deliver a bundle of benefits so you may find multiple reasons why others will buy in. You can do this by asking and answering one or more of the following questions before you start to ask others for support and commitments:

  • What is the result this work will produce for the customer?
  • What will it gain for the end user?
  • What pain will it remove for the customer? 
  • What problem does the work solve or avoid?
  • What need does the product fulfill?
  • What does this product help the customer do or deliver?
  • Who receives the impact of this value?

Take a few minutes to analyze your answers and then present them to the people whose assistance you require to deliver on your commitments. Aligning value to the customer can positively impact agreement, performance and accountability.

This kind of thinking communicates a context for performance that is easy for most people to relate to and commit to.

Most people will not take this advice because they think it takes too much time. This kind of forward-thinking saves huge time on the back end in the context of meeting product or service specs, achieving more commitment from peers and directs, avoiding mistakes and off-course corrections, and delivering what the customer wants on time and even over-delivering what they expect.

And for those of you who are being assigned work by others, or agreeing to do it for peers, you should never commit to an assignment unless you know what the expected value is for the end user. You will often save time and effort and appear as a high performer if you consider the value proposition for the customer. 


This blog was reprinted with permission from Jill and Steve. To learn more about them and their work, visit

©2023, ChoiceWorks Inc., Leading Accountability for Results®

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