In business we all use a lot of words that, over time, lose their value – various phrases, clichés, mantras, and key signature “catch words” to reflect a set of core values that are necessary to achieve success. However, there’s one word that I feel has a key impact on the bottom line of every company – Accountability! This word has such an impact on our society. The government and the laws of your habitat want you to be accountable for your actions. We, as citizens, want to hold our government and law enforcement personnel accountable for their actions. We teach our children about what responsibility is, and what it means to be accountable to that responsibility, and, also, the consequences associated with the lack of being accountable for those responsibilities. Our spouses want us to be held accountable for those areas that are considered “our areas.” This could go on forever, but one of the most intricate areas of this term leads us back to our workplace, because any respectable manager of people must demand accountability of his or her team.
With respect to our jobs, we often have so many other moving parts associated with our daily goals of achievement, that when something goes wrong, it’s so easy to find another area of blame other than those tasks and responsibilities that are exclusively our own. If the meeting didn’t start on time, the manager blames the secretary for not having the paperwork printed out and ready to go. If the equipment malfunctioned, and as a result, the job wasn’t completed in the time it was promised, the onsite equipment technician is to blame. Here, at Business View Caribbean, if a company’s name was misspelled and not corrected at the time of publishing, or if their brochures were printed up and delivered with that mistake, we could actually blame the company themselves, because they are sent the final proof before printing, and since they didn’t catch it, “Oh well?!?”
When was the last time you saw someone at your job hold their hand up, or point at themselves, pat themselves on the chest, or send out a mass email saying that the mistake that was made was their fault, and their fault, alone? When was the last time you, yourself, chose to stand up and face the music due to an obvious dropped ball? Accountability isn’t the act of accurately carrying out your job, or having the skills and ability to perform your areas of responsibility without failure. Accountability is the act of owning up to a failed responsibility – boldly exclaiming that a certain misstep, wrongdoing, or accident was your fault.
The act of accountability is so powerful when you make the commitment to have it stand as one of your unmitigated key core values. Most people feel that owning up to failure is an immediate way of losing the faith and confidence of your team. Well, I’m here to assure you that it is not. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It’s the ultimate act of trust and bravery. It’s when we do this that our team, managers, owners, etc., increase their trust in us. It’s this trait that reminds them of why they like working with us, and why we’re on the team in the first place. So, I challenge you to stop throwing this word around loosely, and to make an oath that the next time you have the opportunity to say “That was my fault!” do it quickly, loudly, and with confidence. The precedence you’ll set will be golden, and if you’re at the top of the management chain of command, it’s a trait that will trickle down into the nooks and crannies of your business where accountability is paramount in achieving success.
Until next time, plan, build, and continue to prosper.