Duh, you are saying to yourself, it’s 14 letters, I counted twice. So it’s not swearing but why does everybody get quiet when someone says “let’s talk about accountability”. Perhaps it is because in this day and age we put baggage on words like responsibility and accountability that unfairly casts them in a negative light, presuming they automatically demand weight bearing or blame sharing.
I would contend that whether the issue at hand is positive or negative, our posture of response can and should be positive, as it will make celebrating success more sweet and confronting a failure more bearable.
One of our company core values, I get tired of that phrase, it’s so “corporate speak”, so, in other words, one of the things we say to one another, and try to mean it, is that we “forgive without condition & trust but verify to embrace accountability throughout the organization”. We make it our aim to model this practice as leaders as we know that the practice of the positive posture allows us to bend not break (being flexible), be firm in our commitments (reliable), and attack the problems not people.
Gary Vaynerchuk, author of “Twelve and a half, leveraging the emotional ingredients necessary for business success” puts it this way “When you blame others, you are admitting to yourself that you’re no longer in control, you are giving leverage to the other person that you’re pointing your finger at and you become a victim of the situation you’re in.” and “No matter what challenge I’m facing, I have to accept that in some way I made a decision that put me in that situation. Even if the decision I made was to ignore the building crisis until this moment, I need to hold myself accountable for that too.”
Now, clearly, sometimes stuff happens that is out of left field, or someone lets us down or even lies or willfully neglects a responsibility or is adversarial towards us. Even in these situations, we can control our response, and if we take responsibility for our PART (if any) and for ALL of our response and make it about solving the problem rather than assigning the blame, the battle is already pitched in our favor. In this way, accountability can become a path to greater freedom and faster problem solving.
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