Accountability: the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.
Accountability is tough, I know first hand. I have not always held myself accountable for my actions. Honestly, I spent most of my life blaming others for my actions or failures. You know what I got from blaming others? Absolutely nothing. Of course, it is so much easier to blame others for my actions. So what is accountability? Essentially, to develop objectives, commit to them, and accept responsibility for their consequences.
Why is it so difficult to take accountability?
Accountability is difficult because it requires us to look inward at ourselves and our actions. Confronting ourselves can be challenging, and some people avoid it at all cost. It could be costing you plenty; in job opportunities, knowledge, advancements, and personal relationships. This is one topic that came up often — and one that I discussed in detail with a handful of entrepreneurs, leaders or mentors. Those discussions led to this list of ways to hold yourself accountable, which can help you crush your goals.
Accountability breeds response-ability. – Stephen R. Covey
1.Look inward & review yourself
You are the only person responsible for your success or failure.
As I mentioned, I spent a long time blaming everyone else for my failures. Once upon a time, I left a position at a company that I had been in for a while. Selfishly, I felt like my failures during my employment were my supervisors fault while our successes were mine. I was blaming everyone else for my parting with the company. But then I looked inward and reviewed myself. Guess what I found? I was wrong. I had to take accountability for my actions. While my pride was hurt because I didn’t want to face the fact that I was wrong, I learned so much. This was my first conscious act of accountability.
Now every time I am faced with a challenge, whether it be poor leadership, personal problems or a conflict with a stranger, I always try to remind myself to look inward and review myself first. I change my perspective of the situation and try to address what the issue is with an open, selfless mind. Notice I said TRY. I am not perfect, none of us are.
If you really want to be accountable, constantly keep yourself in check. My friend, Dylan Jenks says,”I hold myself accountable by looking inward and realizing what I have been blessed with. My wife, home, health, relationship with God, these are all things worth continuing to drive for.”
2.Write everything down
If you know me, you know that I am not the most organized person. I found myself at one point having to force myself to use my planner, make to-do list, write down goals, etc. I was not a fan. It did not take me long to realize that I was not a fan because I did not like the accountability that this caused. Shortly after realizing that, I fell in love with this habit.
Did I check every box on my to-do list everyday? No. Did I always meet every single goal? No.
I did hold myself accountable every single day, though. At the end of the day, by looking at my list of accomplishments or failures, I could make changes in the future to better achieve these goals.
Emily Jenks, Regional Manager at Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy says,” I create checklists to write everything down to hold myself accountable. I time block my days to ensure I am managing my time correctly for productivity.”
3. Accountability partners
I just mentioned reviewing your own performance above, and it’s very effective — as long as you are honest with yourself. If you want unbiased feedback, get some accountability partners! Accountability partners are one of the most popular goal-setting strategies. Knowing that we will check in with someone who is emotionally and energetically invested in our success keeps us on track, even when things get hard.
Picking the right accountability partner is very important. This will determine your success! While choosing your accountability partners, we have to select people that are qualified to do so. Choose people that have the same values, commitment, integrity, and motivation as you. It is important that you trust this person, value their feedback, and know that they always have your best interest in mind.
David Roux, President of Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy says,”Holding myself accountable is done by getting others to hold me accountable.”
4. Create a detailed follow up plan
In my experience as a manager, I have been faced with many challenges. I found myself seeking a clear way to have my entire staff on the same path. My number one goal is to set up everyone for success, but I was failing terribly. I reached out to my accountability team or partners for some feedback. What can I do to be more successful? How can I help my team? I got some incredible feedback. I learned that we were setting goals for our office, but not creating a follow up plan.
Now, we have weekly meetings to hold each other accountable. You may think that this is micromanaging, but I disagree. If we are being productive and holding ourselves accountable, we love these types of meetings. We find ourselves discovering different approaches to increase productivity and decrease failure. Bonus: even more people holding me accountable!
“The best accountability tool or system is the one that works, the one that you will use. I have learned that it’s hard to maintain a relationship with our goals,” says Wyatt Graves, Owner and CEO of Kaizen Home Sales and Service. He continued, “What this means is we set them, but we don’t interact with them on a frequent or recurring basis. I look at my goals, my calendar, etc. everyday to ensure I know what the most important activities are that lead to accomplishing my goals.”
5. Change your perspective
The first time I was told to change my perspective was by my sweet friend and coworker at the time, Patricia Hovis. I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly got stuck. I thought, “I don’t want to change my perspective. I am right, you just need to see that.” Wow! How ridiculous was I?
Let’s be honest, it is very easy to get into a place where we blame someone else or another situation outside of ourselves.
For example, it is easy for me to think that someone else knows more people than me, so I can never have the success that they have. Sounds silly, right? But if I change my perspective and look at things from a positive view point, I can see that I have a clear path of improvement in front of me. I may never have the SAME “popularity” as that other person, but I can develop my own success in my own way.
Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.
Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions. – John Di Lemme
These are some ideas you can apply in your day to day life to help you become more accountable, however you use what works for you! Sometimes people can clearly see a goal they want to reach, and they have a strong desire to reach it. However, something is stopping or blocking their progress. Accountability is all about addressing what’s not getting done. It is not the method that is important, it is the act of accountability.
Cami, Project Manager and Innovative Construction Solutions, uses her own techniques to hold herself accountable. She says, “I sometimes talk to my baby about what my goals are. He can’t understand what I am saying, but it is getting me in the habit of making promises to him that will better our future. So even if he doesn’t know what I am talking about, I still have that emotional connection with my goals and I make sure I do the things I have to do in order to reach those goals.”
In the tittle of this blog you see Accountability: Lessons from a failure. I failed because I was stuck in my ways of blaming everyone, now I am a successful failure. Yes, I still have short comings and don’t always meet my goals; but I am constantly reminding myself to look inward for the problem, not outward. Thanks to a few unfortunate life circumstances, I now know what accountability means to me and how it has significantly changed my life.
Let us know! How do you hold yourself accountable? Is accountability important to you?