Usually, when we run into a challenge, we focus most of our effort on changing what we do…and we make little or no effort to change the way we think. Yet the power of thinking far outstrips the effects of doing. It is only when we change the way we think that we change what we do in a sustainable way. This is a key principle of accountable leadership: Action always follows belief. If you
The Accountability Blog
Accountable leaders never tire of asking themselves a tough question: Who am I, really? They know the answer to that question is always going to be rooted, not in what they say about themselves, but in the actions that they choose to take. These leaders know their actions do one of two things: they either demonstrate full commitment to their chosen purpose in life … or they demonstrate commitment to something else. Recently, I was
Here is perhaps the ultimate accountability challenge: Suppose you were called on to turn around a company in crisis. How would you do it? There never seems to be any shortage of firms experiencing challenges that connect to a deficit of accountability. The most recent, glaring example is probably Boeing, whose CEO just departed following a series of major problems related to internal safety concerns that were withheld from regulators and others. The plane in
We can only inspire accountability. We can never bring it into existence by demanding it. This is the Principle of Accountability. And the only way to master accountability is to change the way we think. Accountability is not a way of doing. It is a way of thinking. Plenty of leaders talk about “holding people accountable” for certain narrowly-defined outcomes: getting a report done on time, hitting a performance target, taking out the trash, whatever.
An extraordinary instance of accountable business leadership made the news over the past week. It came from an employee, not from someone highly placed in the organization, and it was in service of the powerful accountability commitment I call “I stand by you when all hell breaks loose.” The accountable leadership moment came when Bonnie Kimball, a cafeteria worker at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in New Hampshire, learned that one of the students in
Accountability means keeping your commitments to people. Pretty simple, right? Well, it should be, especially for leaders. Leaders who are accountable make a point of fulfilling their own commitments to people first. They make their own commitments the starting point, the priority, in any relationship. Why? Because they know that supporting their relationships with team members is the only effective means of inspiring accountability up and down the organization.
There are a lot of leaders and aspiring leaders who hear me talk about accountable leadership, and who really want to make accountability a reality in their lives and in their workplace, but find that they can’t. Typically, this is either because there is someone above them in the hierarchy who simply isn’t receptive to the idea of true accountability coming from the top … or because the person at the top doesn’t even realize
“How accountable am I?” This is a question accountable leaders never stop asking themselves. Accountability never stops. Accountability is proactive. Accountability takes a conscious effort and continuous action over time. Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. The minute you stop asking yourself how well you are keeping those commitments, the minute you stop taking action to strengthen those relationships, Accountability fades. Often, I will hear leaders say something like this: “Sure, I’m accountable. I
As accountable leaders, we need to look closely at the difference between being accountable to and being accountable for. That difference has an impact on our ability to effectively lead our teams. When you are accountable to someone, what does that mean exactly? When I ask leaders this question, I follow up by asking them to give me examples of some of the people they are accountable to. I hear things like: My boss. My
One of the most common questions I hear from leaders is: How do we build an accountable workplace culture? The answer is simple… but it is not easy. In fact, the answer to this question gives us a textbook example of why simple principles often take immense amounts of time, energy, and effort to implement. The simple answer is as follows. To build an accountable workplace culture, you first design it. How do you design