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I Don’t Want To and You Can’t Make Me – Being Accountable

Ever been in a meeting, or any situation for that matter, when you had a great idea that was going to solve THE problem and get things moving. And, just like Quick Draw McGraw, you shout out the idea and the next thing you know they’ve put you in charge of making it happen.
Whoa, there big fella, you just wanted to make the suggestion, not take on the whole darned thing. UGH! You and your big mouth did it again. Now you have to be responsible… accountable!
Noooo, I Don’t Want To and You Can’t Make Me!
OK, let’s look at being accountable.
Accountability has nothing to do with your ability to balance your check book or figure out your taxes. You should leave that up to the professional number crunchers; they are lonely and need to feel needed.
However, being accountable does imply that you honor your word and be responsible for your promises and your actions. So, when you are cut off in traffic, someone butts in front of you in line, another’s promise is not fulfilled and your first instinct resembles a Dirty Harry move, you slow down and evaluate.
Being accountable really means to hold yourself to a higher standard, a norm above average even when no one is around to see, which is probably a good thing as you’d really confuse the heck out of those who have no sense of accountability.
It also means that when you promise to do something that you actually follow though and do it even if you don’t want to or you think it is a waste of time. Once again, you may baffle some, in a good way, with your actions.
Take for example the second hand wash machine we bought from a dealer who promised it was in perfect working condition, yet the spin cycle didn’t work. We had to hand wringing all of our clothes.  Yet, the dealer would not be accountable for his product, take it back or get it repaired. He thought he’d done enough by claiming to have had it checked out mechanically before selling it to us.
How do you think we thought about that guy? Not only did we think he was a jerk, but, every time we wrung out a towel we pretended it was his neck.
Accountability is personal. It comes from within voluntarily. No one can force you to be accountable, give you accountability, you can’t buy it and you can’t borrow it. Someone who is accountable maintains a level of integrity because they want it. It usually stuns and amazes. Doing what you said you would do by the time you said you would do it or making a new promise to do what you said you would do is one form of being accountable. Accountability is a measure of your integrity. (More on integrity later in the series.)
How many times have you made a promise and
didn’t keep it? What have you swept under the rug
or hoped that something would just go away?
It seems to be human nature to look for a reason, logical or not, to blame when things don’t go according to plan. So, some easily blame the weather, their dog, Aunt Matilda or, as Flip Wilson used to make the excuse that, “The devil made me do it.” Remember, there is NO accountability in trying to put off on to another what you were supposed to do, be or say.

All in all, when you boil out the excuses, the blaming, the irresponsibility, the song and dance, accountability is doing the right thing.
One additional thought on accountability. We humans are lousy when it comes to making promises to ourselves and keeping them. We’re not so accountable to ourselves as we are when someone else is involved. Here’s a pretty good tip: Go get yourself an accountability buddy, someone you trust to keep your feet to the fire when necessary and someone for whom you can do the same. Form an alliance of accountability. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend Tags: above average, accountability, higher standard, honor, promise, responsible, your word

Rick Lelchuk

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