Welcome All!

If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Miss D, Please Send In Someone to Blame"

Excuses for failure and excuses about your choices in life all fuel dysfunctional thinking and undesirable actions and behaviors. Making excuses instead of taking one hundred percent responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals is the hallmark of people who fail to succeed. Successful people hold themselves and others accountable.


There has always been negative press on accountability, however. “As long as you realize that I will hold you accountable for this.” This is a statement that often generates fear and an instant urge to duck and hide. The association with pressure, stress, or threat is very common when the word ‘accountable’ is being uttered because it’s often been used in a punitive way. Too often accountability turns hot when something goes wrong (which is rather late) and when people start to lay blame, point fingers, and use excuses like:
-          I didn’t have enough time
-          If we only had the resources
-          The schedule is too tight
-          That’s not my job
-          The competition outsmarted us
-          The whole economy is in trouble
-          I am too tired
-          It is too complicated
-          The pc was down etc. etc. etc.

Successful implementation of organization-wide accountability is best woven into the culture, the strategy, the processes, and the way of working (or better: being). In this case accountability:
- Breeds more mature and collaborative relationships.
Eliminates many of the unnecessary surprises.
Improves job engagement, satisfaction, and performance.


When you practice accountability, you
See it: including an honest self-appraisal and acknowledgement that you can do more, differently to get results.
Own it: accepting responsibility, which is paving the road to action.
Solve it
Do it.

And you focus on “What else can I do” rather than on “Who did this” or “Why it can’t be done.” The other side of the story shows what likely happens when there is little or no accountability: You get lazy and give up too soon, you lose confidence, you make mistakes, you ignore, deny, and cover your tail, you lose energy & enthusiasm, you take short cuts, you lose momentum, you have no support, and you are less likely to finish projects.

One definition of accountability is: Clear commitments that, in the eyes of others, have been kept. Therefore, you need to ask for feedback, you need to listen to comments, you need to discuss possible improvements, and you need to go to customers, suppliers, and colleagues and other stakeholders and actively ask: How am I doing? Former mayor Ed Koch of New York was known to introduce himself to anyone he met with: “Hey, I’m mayor Ed Koch. How am I doing?”

So accountability is a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results: to see it, own it, solve it, and do it. Accountability is about
-  Providing crystal clear expectations.
-  Constantly asking “How am I doing?”
-  Being reliable.


Creating an accountability culture is to recognize that wherever you are on the organizational chart, you encourage others to hold you accountable.


To sum it all up, accountability ...
... Begins when two or more people know about a commitment.
... Is clarity and specificity in expectations.
... Goes upstream, downstream, and sideways.
... Means you go first, no matter who you are.
... Rests with the people who lead.


I want to conclude with Polish Poet Stanislaw Lec: No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

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