How accountable are you?
Do you honour all of your commitments, all of the time?
If you have decided to start an exercise program, do you keep yourself accountable by telling others or by finding someone to buddy up with? And what do you do when your scheduled 5 kms run coincides with an unseasonal downpour? Do you go anyway, or do you use the excuse of it’s too wet, too slippery, too cold?
What if you agree to attend an important function for a special client and then discover to your horror that it coincides with your daughter’s graduation ceremony? Which do you go to? Do you see if you can wangle your way out of one, or do you find a solution that allows you to get to both?
This is the scenario described by Sam Silverstein in his book “No more excuses: the five accountabilities for personal and organizational growth.”
Having read the book I had the uncomfortable reality check, that despite thinking I am accountable for what I say and do, there have been times when I haven't been. Those times when I have conveniently chosen to ignore being accountable and allowed myself to come up with an excuse, a justification or a story to let myself off the hook.
The thing is, accountability doesn’t work that way. You are either accountable or you’re not and if not, there’s a good chance you are letting yourself down as well someone else.
My uncomfortable insight woke me up to make a decision. No more excuses!
Sam is an expert in accountability. He eats, lives and breathes it. He has written six books and travels the world speaking on the subject. I guess there probably isn’t much that Sam Silverstein doesn’t know about accountability.
Why accountability matters so much on both a personal and organizational level is that it an essential component to all of our relationships, relating to trust, our values and our beliefs.
He describes five aspects of accountability:
1. Do the right thing consistently. You can’t have accountability without responsibility. At your work, do you know the cultural values and beliefs of your organisation and are they being communicated?
2. Manage your space. Sometimes we need to let go of things that we are familiar with, to provide more space for growth.
3. Manage the process. It’s about identifying what is or isn’t in your control, then focusing on what is, to get the desired results. It’s about persistence and creativity.
4. Establish the right expectations. If your organisation has core values it wants everyone to adhere to, do you know where to find them? Could you tell someone else what they are and do your leaders lead by them?
5. Contribute to your relationships. We are all accountable to each other. Do you treat every co-worker, customer, friend or family member with the same amount of respect?
Personal and organizational success depends on our accountability.
Accountability is an essential component to maintaining your competitive advantage.
So what do you think when you see someone abrogate their responsibility to stay accountable?
- When a pharmaceutical company fails to reveal potential harmful side effects of a new drug.
- When a politician denies they have done anything wrong when outed by a disclosure they would otherwise have kept hidden.
- When a motorist runs away from the scene of an accident where their action has contributed to the injury or death of another person?
We tell our children to own up when they do something wrong, but as grown ups we’re not always very good at heeding our own advice.
Accountability has to start with us, to own up, to take responsibility and make good. “To demonstrate what we believe in, by what we do.”
Where does accountability sit in your organisation?
Are there areas in your life that you’re not as accountable for as you might be?
If so, is it time to make a decision? No more excuses!