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You Can’t Opt Out Of Accountability!

by David Brock on November 22nd, 2022

In every job and role, we are held accountable. It may be for certain goals. It may be in the ways we conduct ourselves, working with our peers, customers, and others. It may be how we do our work and with who we do it. Accountability applies to everyone–our customers have things, for which they are accountable. Each person in our own organization has things for which they are accountable.

Accountability isn’t optional. We don’t choose those things for which we are accountable, it comes with the job we’ve chosen to do. We sign up for these accountabilities when we sign up for the job.

We don’t get to do the parts we like and blow off those parts we don’t like.

In doing those things we are accountable for, we are dependent on others to do the things for which they are accountable. If they don’t do these things, then it impacts our abilities to do those things for which we are accountable. And, likewise, others are dependent on us, if we fail, it impacts impacts them.

Accountability isn’t aspirational. It’s what we have committed to do. In the words of that famous thought leader, Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

We may, sometimes fail. But it’s only after we’ve done everything possible to succeed. It’s only after we’ve sought help and support from others. And when we fail, we assess what happened, figuring out how to avoid future failures. And when we fail consistently, to achieve that for which we are accountable, it is a performance issue that may cause us to lose our jobs.

Accountability requires us, sometimes, to do things that are tedious and boring. We may want to choose our time elsewhere. But others are dependent on us doing those boring and tedious things, if we didn’t do those things, they might fail.

Too often, it seems we avoid accountability. We do the things we like, that are easy or enjoyable, or the things that directly impact our personal success. And that done, at scale, impacts everyone, and causes us to underperform of fail.

However, accountabilities are established and re-established in conversations between managers and their people. There are some that may be non-negotiable that come with accepting to work for a certain organization or a certain job. Before accepting a role in the organization, it is critical to understand these accountabilities. Many are developed in the course of executing the organizational strategies. It’s clear we understand these and can own them. And managers can’t be arbitrary in establishing these, they have to work with their people to make sure they understand these and own them. When these are arbitrarily assigned by managers, people become disengaged.

As we go into a new calendar year in the coming month, it’s important for each person to sit with their managers, understanding what they are accountable for. It’s important to understand how others depend on us doing those things we have committed to do.

Accountability is not optional.

From → Leadership

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