Strategic Planning Organizational Development Learning
Vision Philosophy Mission Values Testimonials

Accountability – It’s a Point of View

In my book, there is never a time when personal accountability doesn’t matter.  It’s powerful in times of good and bad.  And, I think it’s the fuel for a high performing, collaborative team.  Imagine if everyone came to the game everyday asking things like: “What can I do to make a difference today?”  Accountability breeds accountability.  It’s REALLY hard to be a schlub when everyone around you is cranking to get things done and figure out how to do things more effectively.

Accountability starts with a point of view that you do, in fact, have the power to make a difference.  People with a point of view of personal accountability tend to look for improvement opportunities and problems that need to be solved.  These are the people who ask themselves:

  • What’s my role in this circumstance?
  • What can I do differently to influence a positive outcome?
  • What clues did I miss?
  • What risks did I avoid to take that might have improved the results?
  • What practices or habits of mine get in the way of achieving the best possible results?

It takes a lot of courage to be accountable, and accountability can be a lonely country.  That’s why it’s important for leaders to create a culture where accountability is valued and rewarded.  In this type of culture, people are encouraged to ask the tough questions and are rewarded for discovering new approaches to old problems.  To create more accountability in the workplace:

  1. Take a pulse check on the levels of accountability.  Is yours a “just do it” environment where people make things happen?  Or, is it more common for people to point fingers and blame others?  Depending on how accountable your culture is, start taking actions to ratchet things up – either from bad to good, or from good to great.
  2. Be a role model.  Your actions speak volumes and show people the way to be accountable.  Do people see you being accountable or do they see a victim of circumstance?
  3. Cultivate accountability.  Look around and see what you can do to clear obstacles that keep people from being accountable.  Eliminate policies, practices or belief systems that don’t support accountability at all levels.
  4. Empower others.  Make sure people have the authority and tools to make decisions (and act upon them) that are in the best interest of the organization.

Accountability can make a big difference, even when taken in baby steps.  Give it a try and see what happens.  Here’s a closing thought from someone with bigger chops on the subject than mine:  “Make every decision as if you owned the whole company.”  Robert M. Townsend,  American Economist and Professor at MIT.


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Leave a Reply

Security Code:



« Blog Home Page