You Can From Learn From Every Success and Failure

Distinctions on Accountability

Having worked with leaders from all walks of life and industries one topic that often brings a mix of desire and fear is accountability. High achievers CRAVE someone holding them accountable and those who lack confidence or fear they won’t stand up to scrutiny want to avoid it at all costs.

The challenge is that our relationship to accountability is linked to a fear of failure, criticism, and the constant feeling that we’re never getting enough done. But accountability isn’t about feeling bad about yourself, it’s about having an honest and powerful relationship with your word. It’s about getting invaluable feedback about what is and isn’t working in your life.

But getting there isn’t easy for most people so here is the first of five distinctions on accountability that can help you be true to your word, be honest about your level of commitment, and improve your integrity with others.

Read part one. Read part two. Read part three. Read part four.

Part 5: You Can From Learn From Every Success and Failure

One thing I notice is that when people DO what they’re being held accountable for they report it quickly and move on. But that’s missing the point. It’s helpful to look at how it got done and what was the process that made it happen.

It helps because often inside the success is a hidden efficiency or structure that could be applied to other parts of your performance. It also helps because even in success there might be excess work or worry that can be eliminated.

The same is true of failures. When people fail to follow through on their commitments they usually offer an excuse. They try to move on quickly and hope that their reason feels familiar enough that other people will think it’s reasonable.

But true accountability is about being unreasonable. If you were holding someone accountable in an unreasonable way what might you say, ask, or do?

When you look with depth and scrutiny at why something didn’t happen you can learn even more that will help in the next attempt. You may also exchange some of the charge around the failure in return for more curiosity and contemplation.

If failures aren’t something to be avoided but learned from then failures can teach you a lot about how to make powerful commitments and follow through on them.