Business executives looking for a competitive advantage today are, more and more, wanting their people to be accountable. The problem is that for some time now society has misunderstood what accountability really is.
Accountability is not a business tool, technique or tactic. Accountability cannot be mandated, dictated or stipulated. Accountability is something that happens on a very visceral level as people learn to really value people and as relationships are built.
Valuing people is not valuing people for what they can contribute to your success, your business or your personal gain. Valuing people is about simply that, valuing people. Valuing people is looking at someone and recognizing that they and you have everything in common as human beings, seeing all people as having enormous value and, as an accountable leader, looking for the potential that every human being has and leading them to their greatest potential. When as a leader you think and act in this manor a different type of relationship begins to develop between you and everyone around you.
Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. Those commitments are always tied to a set of values. Living those values with each other is when accountability shows up. You will never keep your commitments to someone if you do not truly value them. You cannot be accountable if you don’t value people, all people.
President George W. Bush recently said, “Americans have a great advantage, to renew our unity we only need to remember our values.” It always comes back to values. And, those values are always about people and the relationships that people have. Values are what bring people together, values are what people rally around and values are what we are accountable to each other for.
When people value people, agree on a set of values in their organization or community and work together to live those values then accountability flourishes. When this happens, you achieve a specific outcome. That outcome, in a business, could be improved teamwork, increased creativity and innovation, and better results on the bottom line.
In a community that outcome might be all people having a voice in determining their future, healthcare and education that is equally good for every person and child in that community, and a government that fully represents all the people in the town.
Accountability may be the secret weapon for your organization or community but only because accountability includes and considers all people equally. That accountable environment will always out perform all alternatives.