More On Accountability


Let me try bring some clarification to the term ‘Accountability.’
There are several ways to use this word. One way refers to being held responsible for certain actions or outcomes. Like your tax bill. You are being held accountable by the IRS. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, you will pay the consequences.
Another way to use the word is in thinking about it’s root, Account. To count up, or log. To keep track of. Think accountant.  These people count dollars.
But a third way to use the term is more loosely defined, and probably a more common way to use it, at least in my circles.  And that is as reminder, or a checklist. “Remind me to call the dentist tomorrow.” “Wake me up in the morning so I can go to the gym with you. If you don’t, I’ll never go.”
This is how I am using the word. All three meanings kind of merge together, but when I say that we need accountability in our business ventures, especially as solo business owners, I mean we need someone to remind us to get things done. Things that we know we need to do. The only person we actually answer to is ourselves, really. Spouses too, perhaps. Bankers and the taxman of course. But at the end of the day you are your own boss, and by definition, you answer to yourself.
Asking yourself if you got ‘such and such’ done, and then penalizing yourself, or chewing yourself out, seems pretty ridiculous. But asking someone else to check up on you seems smart.
And that is the point.
I have found that I need to develop clear goals, and then ask someone else to help me by asking me “Did you meet those goals you told me about? Why not?”
These goals that I routinely miss are short term. Sales and Admin come to mind. These are things I am most likely to avoid due to discomfort and lack of skill or interest. But they are vital to my company, and if I overlook or postpone doing these tasks, it won’t be long before I get added to the ever growing list of numbers called ‘Failed Businesses.’
The take away is:

  • identify your weak spots
  • make a yes/no check list
  • find someone reliable to ask you if you succeeded


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Mark Whitmore

Mark Whitmore

Mark Whitmore is the Head Coach and founder of Lodestone True North, a dynamic firm of experienced business coaches who help entrepreneurs and managers get to their Land of Awesome.

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