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Who Wants to Be Accountable?

Gosh, those are dreaded words for most people, or are they? Accountability, what’s it really mean? According to Webster’s Online dictionary, accountability means an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” Read what Wikipedia says about accountability:

Accountability is defined as “A is accountable to B when A is obliged to inform B about A’s (past or future) actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct”.[1]

[1] Schedler, Andreas (1999). “Conceptualizing Accountability”. in Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner. The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers. pp. 13–28. ISBN 1-55587-773-7

The funny (or sad) thing is, in a business where we should strive for accountability on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis, very few if any of us do incorporate accountability into our workplace. Why? Why do we make accountability so difficult or “dreaded” as I referred to in the first paragraph? I believe the main reason we don’t institute good accountability programs in the workplace is that most people hate failure, and when we fail to meet up to our goals and expectations we feel a sense of a letdown to ourselves, our family and the organization. If we could somehow shift the failure aspect into a positive, it would work! How can we do this? Easy, instead of asking “why” ask “what.”


Don’t say – “Why didn’t you prospect this week? You said you we’re going to call on [x] number of new prospects, why?


Try – “What could you do differently this week to help you meet your goal of [x] new prospects?


I believe as managers and brokers we have to shift from the failure aspect to more of a coaching method. Use the defeats as ways to learn and grow. Make it clear from the outset that all of us will fall short or our goals and desires, but that doesn’t mean we can get back up and keep going. I love the old saying, “it’s not how many times you get knocked down, but how long you stay on the floor.”


Finally, for brokers and managers, accountability to your team is required and essential for your team to grow and prosper. Make accountability a coaching session and make sure you set time aside on a regular basis to help your team with accountability. For larger organizations (and even smaller groups) allow individuals to partner up with the accountability process. Make sure that these small groups meet regularly and encourage helping them and meeting on occasion to facilitate and assist with the accountability process.


There are some excellent books on accountability if you need to research more, and if you would like a copy of my accountability scorecard I’ve created to help with implementing this at your office please send me an e-mail and I’ll be glad to forward it to you at no cost.


For more help with accountability visit

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