Friday, June 25, 2010

Who is Holding You Accountable?

Sometimes I get frustrated with my friend Julie. She makes it look so easy to have so much stamina. She is always finding ways that we can work more efficiently, get our exercise in each day, and have cherished valuable time with our kids. She has backed off me a bit as I recover from gall bladder surgery last week. But I know just as soon as I am able she will show up on my door step for us to walk the dogs just like always.

We all need people to hold us accountable. Sales goals, budgets, contracts and deadlines are just like my friend Julie (and my gall bladder) - they hold us accountable for promises we've made. People in the Smart Zone create accountability by inspiring others to accept responsibility for their actions.

Accountability is really a call from your conscience. It's the voice that tells you to do the best you can and to hold others responsible for being their best selves. People lacking accountability are those who are "along for the ride" floating through life, blaming others for their failures and lacking integrity in relationships.

To stay in the Smart Zone remain accountable to yourself first and use the following Smart Moves to create accountability:


  • Don't confuse obedience with accountability. When people obey they are merely doing work to avoid getting punished - possibly at the expense of other people, morale or customer goodwill. Just doing what you are told is not accountability. You must take ownership of your successes and failures to be accountable.
  • Discomfort and remorse are important teachers. When someone fails to perform don't minimize the remorse they feel for messing up. Let them experience the emotions so you don't take away their learning. But remember that people don't learn when they feel threatened - so tread lightly.
  • Lead by example. I am guilty of telling my staff to keep our administrative area clutter free and then letting my desk pile up with stuff. If I want my staff to be more accountable, I must be more accountable.
  • "Deadlines make people do dumb things," says ├╝ber-blogger Seth Godin. Deadlines are made to hold people accountable but many people spend more time explaining why they missed a deadline. With 2 weeks to meet a deadline some people only care about the last 15 minutes.
  • Accountability and responsibility are first cousins. Make and keep your promises. If you find yourself getting off track stop and check yourself. Be honest with yourself and be honest enough to hold others on your team to their personal best.
  • Find an accountability partner. This must NOT be a person that you live with, sleep with or have given birth to. Use your own self awareness to admit weak areas in your life that an accountability partner can help with. Click here to watch my explanation of self awareness.

Accountability comes from within and helps you catch problems early on so that you can take ownership of responding to them. Stop yourself the next time you have the urge to say, "That's not MY job." Hold yourself and others accountable so that everyone will perform at their personal best and work in the Smart Zone.

By the way, click on this questionnaire to see if you have gall bladder symptoms. I certainly could have benefitted from this information before spending a night in the ER last week. I'm pretty tough and have been told I have a high tolerance for pain. Well, gall bladder pain is like no other. Talk about accountability!

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