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Transforming The Workplace with Accountability: The Symphony Solution

Smiling at work

Prior to becoming an Executive Coach, I had 7 startups under my belt, 4 of them from scratch. In May of 2020, we purchased a small commercial/residential electric company in Utah. The stories and successes of the individuals within that company as it grew will forever attest to the strength of something I learned called “The Symphony Solution.”

Developed by Andrew Thorn, an executive coach to many Fortune 500 CEOs and executives, the Symphony Solution combines peer coaching with a weekly accountability system. It is a simple and effective way to support individual improvement and foster trust and motivation within organizations.

Our little electric company wasn’t notably different from many others; we had a volatile foreman, overqualified temp trade-workers and underperforming project managers. But when their inherent and professional value were given priority, these “lay” workers became some of the most thoughtful, balanced, and communicative group you could hope for. The volatile foreman went from tirades of shouting to being tear-filled and understanding. Our temp trade worker happily did work that was considered well below his ability, because the working environment was inclusive and people were inexplicably "nice". Our underperforming project manager was able to find security in his abilities and dismiss his need for external validation. By doing so, he inspired many to do the same. Since most of my CEO experience has been within the tech industry, it was beautiful to watch a system, like the Symphony Solution, apply so seamlessly to both white- and blue-collar business.

Here is how it works: In the Symphony Solution, two individuals, most likely peers, are paired together to support each other on their improvement journey. They become accountability partners, cheerleaders, and friends, providing assistance and motivation when needed. Each person sets their own goals, creating a sense of ownership and tailored improvements.

These goals are then broken down into weekly tasks or milestones that can be reported to the accountability partner. Regular check-ins ensure progress is being made and provide opportunities for support and guidance. The roles are then switched, and the partner becomes the one who is coached and supported.

To further enhance the effectiveness of the Symphony Solution, quarterly 360 reviews can be conducted. This involves gathering feedback from individuals within the organization who can provide insights into the leader's performance and progress towards their goals. It allows for more accurate measurement and reporting, as well as valuable input for ongoing improvement.

The Symphony Solution is effective for several reasons. Firstly, it is conducted within the organization, ensuring the context is understood and relevant to your wide range of employees. Secondly, the frequent meetings create a cadence for high-impact improvement. Finally, the self-initiated goals and accountability from peers and business associates accelerate progress and make the improvements more valuable. Now, if only to implement this solution within my home!

It is my hope that more organizations will adopt the Symphony Solution to achieve company-wide improvement in results and individual growth. This system provides a safe and motivational environment for individuals to improve themselves and their performance, driven by trust and love rather than fear. Everyone deserves the opportunity to unlock their potential and thrive in their personal and professional lives.


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