We Choose The Wrong Things To Be Accountable For

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.

Part 2: We Usually Choose the Wrong Things To Be Accountable For

There are two tricks most people employ at accountability meetings. They commit to things that they already know they’ll get done. They commit to several things that are all ‘important’

But the most important things to create accountability around are those things that are truly vital for success and are for which some resistance or obvious challenge exists.

Sometimes these aren’t the same things. Sometimes the most vital things are the things you would do anyway, in which case being accountable to them is still valuable.

But if you want to get the most out of accountability the key is to find the places where there are weak spots or places where you’re unsure or blind about the process.

When you bring these things into an accountability conversation that’s when you start to get real traction from this type of work, because it brings your attention to the gaps where your best work goes to die.

In addition, don’t pile on LOTS of things to be accountable to. The process of choosing what’s truly important is JUST as important as getting done what’s most important. I limit most of my groups to ONE item that will move their business forward. When they bring two I ask them which one matters more.

When I lead teams I limit them to 3 priorities a quarter. Yes technically I could fit four on the PowerPoint slide, but after doing strategy with various teams over the years few of them complete 3 major initiatives each quarter. Usually, when they commit to four they get one of them done really well.

It can be hard to choose what matters, and of course you can always get more done, the POINT of practicing accountability is to get more vital things done. Things that have an impact. So the more clear you can get on what really matters the more you’ll get out of accountability.