For more than thirty years, I’ve been helping people be more accountable. As a family therapist in the 1980s, I discovered that accountability – the ability to be counted on – is not just the foundation for succeeding in the marketplace; it’s the foundation for succeeding in your life. Developing accountability with kids is a top priority for parents because when young people are accountable they will be employable. Earning credibility with yourself and others, being known as a person who keeps their promises, who goes the extra mile to get the job done, and who does what they say they’ll do, enables you to reach your full potential, personally and organizationally.
List the people in your life who are accountable, people you know you can count on. Think of what it’s like to be around people who keep their promises, who see blame as a waste of time, who stand up and take ownership for problems, who have no time for excuses, who make sure the job gets done. These people bring energy to a relationship. They make trust and creativity possible. They don’t waste time with regret; they put their energy into solutions. Accountable people put a higher value on character than on comfort. They have the courage to meet the demands of reality – without any room for criticizing or fault finding. Accountable people make integrity real and produce results.
Here are some of my favourite accountability quotes that I have written – or collected -over the years:
An agreement is defined as anything you have said you would do, or anything you have said you would not do. Successful living, working, and leading, depends on learning to be accountable, to make and keep your agreements. Accountability is what makes integrity real.
Accountability is the keystone on the bridge of trust.
If you want someone to be more accountable, start by encouraging them to be more passionate. If you aren’t accountable, you haven’t found enough reasons to be accountable. Vision and Passion precede accountability.
If people don’t own it, they won’t do it.
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” ~ George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, philosopher, and co-founder of the London School of Economics
It’s not greener on the other side of the fence. It’s greener where you water it. Now get busy and turn on the hose.
“Where does change begin? It begins in this room. Why? Because this is the room you are in.” ~ Peter Block
How many of you have ever thought less of a person because they put up their hand and said, “I’m accountable for that?”
If it is to be, let it begin with me.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen and those who complain about what’s happening.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
A request is not an agreement. Accountability starts with an agreement. It ends by keeping that agreement, regardless of whether it’s difficult, uncomfortable, or inconvenient.