The Benefits of Accountability
As we have worked with salespeople, leadership teams, owners and frontline employees for over 30 years, one of the greatest signs of growth and commitment in individuals and teams comes when we see people accepting and embracing the importance of personal accountability. If you have worked with JP Horizons in any of those years, you have certainly created plenty of action plans complete with designation of "who" will complete each step of the plan along with "when" it will be completed. We all perform better and are more likely to reach our goals and objectives when we can approach an initiative one step at a time with accountability.
There is another side to accountability that we need to consider. Very often and maybe even most of the time, people just don't like to be held accountable by someone else. It is easiest to see in salespeople approaching sales goals that they really don't believe they can attain. Tracking, measuring, holding sales huddles and even a good dose of "motivation" from a guy like me will only help when a person has taken personal ownership for their results. It is only when someone embraces their sales goals and feels accountable to themselves for taking the actions that will lead to their desired sales that this person is most likely to achieve success. It is also when personal accountability kicks in that we are most open to and can welcome the accountability pokes of others.
My favorite example of personal accountability comes in thinking of my wife's commitment to nutrition and exercise. When she started working out over 9 years ago, I remember a conversation between the two of us where she stood, hands on hips and boldly stated, "Let's be clear on one thing. This is for me and only for me. I never need to be encouraged or reminded to go to the gym. I will continue because I want to continue and I will succeed because I want to succeed."
Well, let's just say I got the subtle hint that I was not to be the one to hold her accountable and I'm glad that has always been the rule. That said, I am afraid to know what we have paid for a personal trainer in all of those years because she loves to be held accountable by someone other than me!
She actually thrives on it and enjoys being asked why she didn't show up for a 6:00 a.m. class, how much caffeine is being consumed as opposed to water, how much sleep she is getting or even what she ate for breakfast ... dinner last night ... lunch yesterday? Now, after struggling to lose 8 pounds for 2 years, she began working with a nutrition coach too, and she currently records every bite that is consumed. Tracking the macros has become a game, and she is mighty serious about it. The accountability coach helps but it is clear she is accountable to herself.
- Jim Paluch