“Accountable” and “Accountability” are two words that have become somewhat popular. Believe it or not, we can all be accountable; it's not difficult - once we set our minds to it. Last year, I found a nice article* on "Accountability." I like the AB&C - acronym-base and content - of the article so here's an excerpt to help us (italics and green font mine):
A - ACTION: “No action creates no results. Facing the fear of inactivity is not easy.” Neither is facing the fear of failure. The way I see it, if you are inactive or take no action, you have failed already.
C - With action, comes COMMITTMENT and more questions. If you are not committed to the action, you will not follow through and soon enough fall back into the state of “no action.” What does commitment look like to you? Is your commitment like the occasional spring breezes or is it constant like the changing of the seasons? Are you truly committed to doing what it takes to reach beyond that next level of excellence?
C - Commitment is the result of making good CHOICES and tough decisions.
O – Choices come from the ability to create new possible OPPORTUNITIES. I’ve found that these come in all shapes and sizes – sometimes they even come as opposition. Oppositions are opportunities to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones – like David Brinkley said: “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
U – UNDERSTANDING yourself is also part of the accountability process. Do you know what keeps you from being accountable? Self-awareness is fundamental to self-mastery. You need to know who or what is holding you back – sometimes it could even be a “where” that’s holding you back. Then you need to come up with a plan of ACTION on how and why you should be and could be accountable.
N – As the old expression goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t measure it. NUMBERS are a critical part of this process.” In your case it may not be about numbers in the strict sense of the word. Possibly all you need are SMART targets – do you have any specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals for yourself? If yes, then you have “Numbers,” if not develop some.
T – When individuals and organizations are accountable, their actions are TIGHT. “Loosey goosey" behavior is neither acceptable nor encouraged.” For me, “tight” is another way of saying focused. It is imperative that your actions are focused not wishy-washy swaying in the wind (or even whims) of other people’s opinions or actions.
A – ALIGNMENT helps to keep the focus on the desired end results. Through alignment, both individuals and organizations are working smarter not harder. Alignment also guards against sub-optimization because your goals are in tandem with a bigger picture.
B – BUILD the behaviors necessary for ongoing success. By constantly building the behaviors that drive the change that you desire will help you to be both accountable and successful. Proverbs 14:1 tells us that “the wise woman builds…”
I – Without the INTERNALIZATION of the necessary attitudes that drive the behaviors creating change, accountability will be short-lived. The question to ask yourself is “Are you working from the inside out?” Avoid being superficial.
L – LEARNING allows us to “fail forward" as John Maxwell writes. Are you fearful of failure? If learning is not part of your overall life plan, then being accountable will be very difficult. I read "Failing Forward" by John Maxwell at a turning point in my life and it gave me the boost required to keep going (Tosin L, thanks for that timely gift).
I – The consistent demonstration of our INTEGRITY helps to keep us on the path of accountability. Do you demonstrate your values at all times? Integrity is who you really are when no one is watching.
T- As you practice accountability, you are TEACHING being accountable by “walking the talk.” The flip side to that for me I is being Teachable. You do not and cannot know all that you need to succeed. Being accountable means that you hold yourself responsible for learning more so you can do more things - better.
Y – You: “Finally, as accountability begins with action, it ends with YOU – the bottom line. Accountability is all about YOU , no buts and no excuses!” A former boss of mine used to say something like: Tasks + Excuses is not equal to Results. I've found that for as long as we want them, excuses abound but they can never take anyone from point A to point B. To make any progress in life, we need to rise up and take the required steps...it's you not excuses that can take you forward.
Back to where we started: you need to take the right actions to get to where and who God created you to be…you remain the best person to hold yourself accountable.