No matter the size of the business, projects manage to fail on occasion. Although the reasons for why these issues occur vary considerably, in my experience I have found that the culprit is often a key team member not actually acting as part of the team. This still occurs in business environments of all sizes because too often workers do not feel accountable for their actions. Luckily, this can be remedied with improved communications technology.

Think back to those group projects you had to complete during your school years (in my case, it was actually before there was a PC, tablet or smart phone). If you're anything like me, you were usually frustrated when others in your group would piggyback on your hard work and still receive the same grade as you in the end. Of course, accountability issues are not the only reasons projects fail. At many businesses, something as simple as a manager not following through with an employee in the middle of an ongoing process can wreak havoc down the line.

Consider the example Gartner Research Director Elise Olding presented in a recent blog post. In her hometown, she was given a parking ticket even though she had 15 minutes left on her parking meter. Although the officer who issued her ticket could have used the ticket citation software to see that it was, in fact, issued incorrectly, Olding was still given the ticket and told to contest it with the city instead. In this scenario, the officer was operating under the old rules, even though new technology has changed the ticket-fighting process.

This kind of situation happens all the time in business, as employees clinging to old ways of accomplishing tasks can bog down projects. Unless these workers are held accountable for their ineffective behavior, no SMB can expect its projects to be successful.

"If the culture of accountability isn't there to begin with, implementing new business processes and technology aren't going to magically change people's behavior," Golding wrote. "And, as in the case of the parking ticket, you may actually be incurring increased costs. Mastering organizational change skills can be daunting, but perhaps starting with identifying the need to establish a culture of accountability can be a good place to start."

How unified communications can save the day
Small business owners may scoff at the above examples listed, thinking that the size of their company insulates them from these accountability problems. However, as someone who has a long career of working with SMBs, I can tell you that this is not the case at all. Luckily, there is an easy workaround: improved communications technology.

In my experience, these accountability issues arise because decision-makers either have too little oversight over processes or they simply have no way of communicating certain goals or ideas to others. With improved collaboration solutions from Fonality, these issues can be remedied. For example, let's say that an employee who has to travel a lot is a central player in a given project. Since Fonality offers cloud-hosted solutions, that worker can be reached from anywhere so long as he or she has access to the internet.

The idea is that the more communication pathways that are established at a small business, the more likely employees are going to feel connected to the business and be held accountable for their actions.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let me know where you stand by tweeting me your opinion about establishing accountability within the workforce and also on the role you think unified communications can play in keeping everyone accountable.