I recently heard a NASA project manager remark that there’s a faster way to clear a meeting room than yelling “FIRE!” and that’s shouting “Accountability”. This seems to be a concept that causes a great majority of people to run scared.
Tens of thousands of people will set new goals in the next week they never expect to execute. Good intentions, solid reasoning – even passionate desire are not enough. Success requires accountability. Whether your goal is to achieve your ideal weight, run a half marathon or increase your income by $30,000 in 2016, it’s going to take more than a good plan. Accountability is a game-changer. Regardless of your personality type, you are not designed to function at your best in isolation.
Accountability and trust are twins. I don’t want to partner with people who fail to follow through and aren’t true to their word, do you?
My husband is a building contractor specializing in custom homes. He has a reputation for impeccable quality and is often called “old school” – partly because of the classic tools he prefers – like a plumb bob and a level. He is also unusual in that he is present on the job to ensure his standard for excellence is upheld by the subcontractors. It’s a never-ending battle since most of the workers have been schooled in a culture of “get it done fast and just good enough to pass.”
In reality, “The only job security you have is the security you create by being very good at something that is highly valuable in the marketplace and having superb interpersonal and teamwork skills.” Thus says, John Spence, a Top 100 Business Influencer and Thought Leader in America.
The business dictionary defines accountability as: The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.
Accountability is only undertaken by the courageous – finger-pointing is the fodder of fools and cowards. More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them. Accountability is the way to turn the tide of a society plagued with an entitlement mentality.
How do you create a culture of accountability? As a leader, there are ways to provoke others to partner in the quest for excellence. It begins with a decision to strengthen your personal leadership by holding yourself to a higher standard. Only then, can you lead others into a greater level of accountability.
Five Ways to Build a Culture of Accountability
1. Clearly communicate your vision. People only take ownership in something they see clearly and understand. Everyone on your team should have a tangible vision board and should see yours. The vision becomes a goal when you put a time line on it.
2. Form accountability partnerships. Commit to a mentor and make sure each team member has a system in place with agreed upon time frames for check in. Let people know you are going to follow up and nag in a friendly way. Note: There’s a difference between follow-up and micromanaging.
3. Create a dashboard for the most important numbers and values that create essential measurements for progress for your mission. You can’t know how you’re doing until you are measured.
4. Initiate brainstorming sessions to discuss progress. The group exercise, Rose, Bud, Thorn can guide productive communication regarding obstacles and issues while including a healthy focus on what’s working and where promising possibilities lie. It’s critical to end every meeting with an action plan.
5. Hold individuals accountable- not groups. Embarrassing and costly problems are often a result of too many people sharing accountability. “Evaluation might feel uncomfortable, but the alternative is self-deception, lost potential, and mediocrity.” Dan Rockwell
“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody
ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine
Lead from Within is a 12 week Leadership Course designed to sharpen your personal leadership skills. If you are in pursuit of excellence and ready to be accountable for your progress, check out this team that begins mid-January. Remember, accountability is the glue that binds commitment to results.