An axis of accountability in a leadership team is the point at which there is an explicit shared accountability, as opposed to a group of independent accountabilities. If there is no axis of accountability for a group, then there’s no need to develop the group as a team because there is no requirement for them to function as a team.
It could be argued that if you are a member of an executive or senior leadership team then it is implicit that you are accountable along with your fellow team members for the overall success of the business, not just your piece of it. However, often the behaviour demonstrated by team members does not indicate that this is the case.
I am not talking egalitarianism here. Of course each individual on a leadership team has an accountability that they must be responsible for and must be empowered by others to make the required decisions about. However, there are common areas that can be owned by the team that will bring high levels of dynamism, creativity and life to an organisation.
One of those areas is the creation and management of a desired business culture that supports and underpins high performance. One way that this can be done is through the development of a company vision, mission, purpose and values, however the ‘what’ is less important than the ‘how’. Businesses that leave the development and maintenance of their culture to HR or some other single point of accountability risk devaluing the work to the status of a process.
Culture requires cultivation. It cannot be reduced to a series of processes managed by some department. That cultivation needs to be being done by a company’s leadership team with outside help as required.
When a leadership team is being 100% accountable for the cultivation of the company’s culture they will be continuously working at managing their own attitudes and behaviours to be consistent with what they have designed, as well as working on how to support everyone else in the business to do the same.