Creating Accountability Systems

Accountability is a powerful word. Most people fear ultimate accountability – to accept full accountability is to make yourself vulnerable to criticism, failure and scrutiny. However, taking accountability will typically result in more motivation to succeed. Taking accountability puts me in a different mindset – I own the project, I am responsible for ensuring everything works.

I’ve started community projects, led non-profit teams and created new initiatives within companies. In all cases, I was the driver, the catalyst and the leader. In all of these cases, it was on me to prove the worth and value of these projects. But, I wanted to be accountable to someone other than myself. Yes, of course, I could just count on myself to accomplish the goals I’ve set out to reach, but I find that I (and most other people) work better in environments where I am accountable to someone else.

I create accountability systems. I either bring in one person to help me be accountable, or I create processes so I am accountable to a group of people. Recently, in a project I led at work, I rounded a group of people to watch me present on the progress of the project every two weeks. I needed to show this group progress and accomplishments every two weeks.

As part of a non-profit group that I led, I created a system where we would be presenting on our programs and results twice a year to our external partners and communities.

When I mentor, I am the accountability system for my mentees. The mentorship environment I create is one of having the mentees accountable to me.

It’s a simple lesson i’ve learned that works for me – create a group, or find a person, and make myself accountable to that group.