This topic of accountability goes far and deep. It is so important that we dedicated an hour to it on the January 29th Business Matters program.I offer you a very personal view of why I propose that accepting accountability for everything in your life may be the most important thing you can do.
We are a country where we blame others when things don’t go our way. We are clearly the most litigious country in the world with the highest per capita number of lawyers anywhere. I don’t think any of us believes that we have a culture that is more devious or more careless than the rest of the world. So why so many lawyers.
I know my thoughts may seem simplistic, and I still challenge you to consider the consequence of this situation. I suspect we have so many lawyers because we are afraid to be accountable.
When something doesn’t work out the way that we expect, often our first response is to find someone to blame. If I have a car accident, our first response is often, “what is wrong with the other driver, what is wrong with the maintenance of the streets, what is wrong with the way the manufacturing of the car”. The list goes on and on.
What would happen if the first question when something doesn’t work is, “what is my accountability?” This simple questions doesn’t absolve others from being accountable – I’ll address that in a minute. Let’s just stay with you.
If I start considering this question, “what is my accountability?” several possibilities appear. The first is that I can learn from the situation. In the case of the automobile accident, maybe I was also distracted, or maybe I was driving faster than necessary. The second outcome is a sense of having more control over my life. One of the big worries in this country is people feeling that they have lost control over what’s important in their lives. Well here’s a way to get that feeling back.
Let me address the issue of the accountability of others. I believe that we are all accountable for the situations we experience. That means that you are accountable and I am accountable. With this approach, we start honestly finding out how we both contributed to a situation. Then we can work together to create the kinds of outcomes we both would like to have.
On the January 29th Business Matters program, we found that businesses that create cultures of more accountability have improved relationships with their customers, their shareholders and themselves. Not only that, they are more profitable.
Why not extend this commitment to accountability to your local community or your state or this country. Sure there will moments when someone else doesn’t accept accountability and want to blame others, maybe even you. Don’t let that stop you. This accountability thing works. Why not give it a try?