Do you believe it? Is there one single thing that can make you successful?
I think so, but it's a biggie: Accountability.
So, what exactly IS accountability? I'm sure you've heard the word over and over.
- "We're going to hold him accountable."
- "How can I get my employees to be more accountable."
- "We need to be accountable to our goals"
Oftentimes people think of accountability in negative terms, as a punishment. But what does it really mean?
Here's my very simple definition: Accountability is doing WHAT you said you would, by WHEN you said you would.
Sounds easy, right? But I assure you, for most people it is not. Simple: yes. Easy: no.
So, why is it so darn hard?
- Because it takes discipline.
- Because it requires a realistic understanding of the world and the forces acting on you and against you.
- And because it takes hard work.
But here's why it's SO important:
- Accountability to others leads to trust. When you are accountable to those around you, you gain their trust. They start to believe that they can rely on you. Because they can.
- Trust leads to freedom. Once people trust you, they stop following up on you. They know you'll do whatever it is. They know you'll do it on time. So you get to be free to micro-management, follow ups, etc.
- Accountability to yourself leads to respect.
- Accountability means you will plan properly, take action towards your goals, and achieve them.
I think accountability it THE most important skill, characteristic, whatever-you-want-to-call-it that exists in relationships, in work, and dare-I-say, life.
Of all the employees I have managed, the ones that I will recommend, the ones that I will hire again, are those who are accountable. If I can delegate to someone and know, truly know, that I don't need to follow up, that saves me time, saved that person time, saves the company time.
Everyone should strive to be unfailingly accountable. To others, and to themselves. If you can do that, you are already winning at life.
And if you aren't there yet, I've got a strategy for you: Under-Promise, Over-Deliver. If you are not that great yet at estimating your time (or even if you are), give yourself a nice big buffer. If you finish early, look at you!, you've wow-ed them. And if you finish later than you thought, but still before the deadline, well, you're still on time.
Go forth and be accountable!