I did it!  I created an Accountability EQUATION.  Check this out.

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I have a 13 year old son, which basically means I’m getting unsolicited feedback on my leadership style all the time.

BELIEVE ME: He’s made it very clear how he views my performance in the organization.

I’m amazed – ASTOUNDED, actually …  by how comfortable he is “leading up.” Yet, what’s refreshing is that I now know:

  • What my breath smells like after I drink my favorite ginger tea
  • How cheap I am compared to the other moms at school
  • That I don’t laugh, I chortle … and it sounds like I also have phlegm in my throat

Marine Corps training has allowed feedback like this to roll off my shoulders. Besides, it’s not like “management” isn’t noticing his performance, too. 

Speaking of which, what I’ve observed lately is his response to problems, which I’ve characterized in three ways:

  • Problem spotting – Mom, your car is filthy.
  • Problem admiring – I still don’t have enough money to buy the shoes I want.  
  • Problem reporting – We don’t have any ice cream – it’s been a couple days now.

As you can imagine, he loves getting my response to his complaints – “be accountable,”  which is very different from being responsible.  Here’s the nuance:

  • Responsibility means that you acknowledge that the problem relates to you.  I know my room’s messy.  I own it, mom.
  • Accountability is best described by a simple equation:

Responsibility + Action = Accountability

Accountability addresses the “okay, that’s a problem – what are you going to do about it?” portion of a problem. It’s acknowledging something’s wrong  and recognizing that only your action will address it – something hard for 13 year olds to do and, let’s face it, hard for us in our own lives as well.

Which brings me to you, and me … and accountability. What are the challenges you keep bumping into in life? Take a second and pause, zoom out, and be curious about the routine frustrations  you keep bumping into – not enough time to invest in you, not getting enough respect at work, finding yourself in a negative thought pattern, not being able to rely on your team, feeling as if your talents are under utilized, or not having the capacity to meet demanding goals at work?  

We’ve all got problems – we can spend a really long time spotting, admiring and reporting our problems. But what if today we decided to do one small thing to address them? And, tomorrow, another small thing? When we take action – when we make the conscious choice to do something different. And it’s hard. I know.  Small things lead to big things, though. 

Here’s to a new era of small, mighty changes!

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