“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” Moliere
Accountability is doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it, to have the results expected – without having to be prodded, reminded, or rewarded. This however is much easier said than done. We first learned to be accountable to our parents and then other family members. Later we added teachers, coaches, authority figures, friends, associates and employers among others into the mix. They always provided great excuses for not being self-motivated. We therefore need to change our mindset in order to commit to a new way of thinking. It can be a challenge to develop a mindset that says: it is up to me and no one else to make sure I am doing what I know I should be doing. Although others may help, you are the one that must hold yourself to a high standard.
Accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. It means being clear on what you want to achieve, accepting onus and taking the necessary actions that will lead to your desired result. Management of a successful business requires accountability for growth.
Solopreneurs and small business owners don’t have managers or executives tracking their progress or giving them performance reviews. Accountability needs to come from within.
Todd Smith wrote the following excellent list of types of accountability on his Little Things Matter blog a few years ago:
Three Types of Accountability
There are three areas in which you must hold yourself accountable:
- Your actions and choices—This would include such things as:
- The way in which you communicate with others
- How you spend your time
- Your behaviour and manners
- The consideration and respect you show others
- Your eating habits and exercising routine
- Your attitude and thoughts
- The way you respond to challenges
- Your responsibilities—This would include these types of things:
- Returning calls, emails, and texts in a timely manner
- Being on time for business and personal appointments
- Keeping your home, car, and workplace clean
- Spending less than you earn
- Doing the things you agreed to do when you agreed to do them
- Executing your job description to the best of your ability
- Writing things down on a “To Do” list so you don’t forget
- Your goals—This would include your:
- Fitness and health targets
- Financial goals
- Family objectives
- Career ambitions
- Personal goals
- Any other goals you have set for yourself
Here are five ways to build accountability into your daily routine
Follow a daily schedule, time block, prioritize, organize, delegate and outsource.
Have a plan for your intentions, goals and direction and be persistently patient with how it unfolds.
Be consistent with how you execute your daily process and activities. Be flexible and willing to tweak things as they arise.
Always be reviewing, surveying and getting feedback. Conduct focus groups with your own customers and observe trends.
Maintain your focus regardless of the obstacles. There will be many bumps along the way. Don’t just give up or lose hope.
So whether you set up reminders that pop up when you most need them, systems — if you don’t get it done by X date, then Y will happen or join a group for support so that when you publicly state your goal you need to have ways of your own that you get accountability to keep you on track. Ultimately, accountability shows up as a steadfast reliability with, and to, others. If you hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities and goals, you wouldn’t choose to blame others for things beyond your control or when something goes wrong. Your life could be transformed and you could start living you want.