As you look at this photo, what do you see? You may have responded something like this: blue sky, golf course, ball on the green, trees, flagstick, clouds, etc. There really is not a right or wrong answer here BUT take a look at where the ball is located. It is close to the flag, and that's good, but you do not know several things: (1) how many strokes it took to get there; (2) how many are considered "par" for that hole; and (3) what happens after this picture was taken. All of these descriptions are wonderful set-ups for accountability - the real kind of accountability that we need in our daily lives. The term and process called "accountability" is often viewed with disdain; however, that should not be the case. We need to learn to do accountability correctly to maximize relationships and results.
Why has accountability become viewed in such a negative manner? The simple answer is that we avoid the conversations that we should have when issues are small; and when those issues become larger, the discussions become much more difficult. If we would focus on the most important and have regular conversations about those topics, then accountability becomes normal (and easier) rather than abnormal (and harder).
How easy can accountability be? Take a look at these simple questions that can help you hold yourself (and others) accountable to any agreed upon commitments:
Are those questions threatening? No! The key is that you let everyone know - up front - that you will be regularly assessing yourself with these questions before you pose them to others. Once you have notified others, then you need to live up to the expectation that you set. If you say it and then do it, accountability becomes acceptable not awkward. If you want accountability within your organization, you make that happen by living it and then leading it.
These thoughts originated from my time of working with teens at our church. I asked them to make ONE commitment to grow in wisdom that would be implemented for 7 CONSECUTIVE days. I let them know that I would be following up (removing the threat and awkwardness) to see how they did. Guess what? The appointed day came and I missed holding them accountable b/c we did not have church that night. I did, however, call every one of them and asked the questions above. Was it uncomfortable to them? Probably because we live in a culture where being held accountable is unusual. Will it benefit them in the long-run? Absolutely!
In summary, if it is important enough to commit to accomplish, then it is important enough to check-up with accountability. Be sure to tell people you are going to hold them accountable, how you are doing to do it, when it will occur, and then follow through. If you do that regularly, accountability becomes a tool for honoring momentum rather than a tool that hammers mistakes.
The"Medley Musings" blog originated from reflection, study, and real-world experience in the education, corporate, government, and spiritual sectors.
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