Accountability or the blame game, what happens most frequently at your business?
Accountability or the blame game, what happens most frequently at your business? When things don’t go as planned in your business, or in your life; schedules missed, customer’s expectations not met, quality of work not up to standards; what do you hear? Blame, excuses, denial? Or ownership of the issue, accountability for the results and responsibility for taking corrective action? If you’re like many small business owners, you hear lots of reasons and excuses.
A sense of personal responsibility seems to be a thing of the past, here and in many other places in the world. We want a label for every behavior and every sniffle. If it’s a ‘thing’ then we don’t have to take responsibility for it.
Why is Accountability important?
It closes the gap between intention and action. Between plans and results. Between goals and success. And it’s the foundation of an ethical business culture and personal integrity. If you focus on or change nothing else but accountability in your business, you will see massive results.
Accountability and empowerment are inseparable. When someone is blaming and making excuses, they see the cause and solution as being outside of themselves. Outside of their control, influence, and power. They have no capability or power to change the outcome. Accountability is a promise and an obligation, both personally and to the people around you, to deliver specific, defined results.
How do I become Accountable?
So how do I become accountable and take responsibility? The first step is the simple awareness and acceptance that you are responsible for creating all aspects of your life and your businesses. Accepting this personal responsibility is choosing to accept that we have the “ability” and the choice, to “respond”. Only by first accepting responsibility can we change the outcome, change ourselves, and change the world.
According to Stephen Covey,“Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise’.”
Accountable people are aware of the positive and negative consequences of their actions – they want different consequences – they take different actions. A team organized for accountability, to achieve a desired result, immediately becomes interdependent. In order to achieve effective interdependence, you must have the structure to support it in place. Accountability in your business requires structure, focus and clarity that supports and builds trusted relationships and gets results.
The empowerment of choices can even be fun and opens your eyes to new ideas and opportunities you hadn’t even given yourself the space to consider before. Once you can take responsibility for your choices, and don’t need to judge yourself if they don’t work out, you are free to do anything. If a choice doesn’t work out, great! You can just be free to try another one without any attachment to the one that didn’t work out how you imagined, blame anyone or have any negative feelings about the result.
If you are accountable and take responsibility for your actions and behaviors, you may come to understand that there are no failures, only different choices and results.
John Wooden once said; “You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes”.
We avoid accountability because we don’t want to feel inadequate, not good enough, not smart enough, a failure. What most of us don’t realize is that being accountable has exactly the opposite effect of that which we fear. We won’t feel inadequate, we will feel empowered, to change the outcomes we have by taking responsibility for our actions, holding ourselves accountable, and making the changes we need to make to get the results we desire. Its magic.