I’m worried about us as a collective group of human beings. We seem to be very on edge and out of sorts. We don’t want to offend and yet we are easily offended. We desire real conversation, and yet, we avoid conflict because it’s uncomfortable. We desire to have all that we want (big TV’s, fancy houses, snazzy cars) and yet we resent the risks and trade-offs it takes to create that kind of wealth. We want to feel good, but we won’t do the hard work to achieve real health.
The Accountability Contagion
We seem to have lost touch with reality.
I’m speaking in generalizations here, of course, but look around. Even if you are one of the few who is truly grounded, you will see this chaos everywhere. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten that the outcomes in our lives are directly an outcome of our actions. And, our actions are orchestrated by our beliefs and mindsets. The connection that bridges the two and grounds a person in reality is accountability.
Being accountable means that you own the outcomes of your actions (your results), good or bad, without excuse and without exception. True accountability seems to be increasingly rare. If we watch the news, we are hard pressed to find examples of accountability in action. The political strategy of the day seems to be to avoid accountability at all costs, even to the point of taking no meaningful action to ensure plausible deniability should something bad happen. Once in a while, you’ll see an example of accountability in action, and sadly, it stands out so much that you might write a blog post about it.
The crazy thing about accountability is that while so many people seem to be avoiding it, embracing accountability is energizing and it opens up opportunities. If you take accountability for your own results, then you spend a lot less time worrying about what other people are doing or might do. Accountability also helps you shed false stories you’ve created in your head about why you aren’t getting ahead in your job or your life. Instead, you look in the mirror and make the changes that are within your control to propel you towards what you want. And, accountability lessens the sting of failure because when you fail, it’s on your terms. You know why you failed and you focus on what you can do differently to avoid failing the same way in the future. Being accountable in failure is about leadership because accountability erases blame and accusations that often make failures far worse than they ever need to be.
Accountability is the truest form of empowerment. It is an invitation to live up to your potential.
So, what do we do? Well, it turns out the accountability can be learned and it’s contagious. By simply being accountable and holding others accountable, you can start a trend. Being accountable will make you stand out, and others will want to mimic the behavior you role model. Being held accountable is how we learn what accountability feels like. So, whenever you have the opportunity, hold people accountable. Expect them to do what they promise, to live up to expectations. Respectfully call them on it when they don’t and let them know that you expect more of them.