Why Accountability Matters

Are you personally accountable? Do you create organizational accountability?

This article identifies why accountability is important — individually and organizationally — with 3 tips for individual accountability and 3 tips for organizational accountability.

What is Accountability?

Accountability is ownership and responsibility. Instead of blaming or making excuses, it is humbly and simply saying, “I own this,” and “I am responsible.”

Why is Accountability Important?

When you are accountable you shift your mindset from one of victimization and blaming (powerlessness) to one of ownership and responsibility (powerful). Ultimately, it is accountability that drives personal and professional growth by encouraging individuals to own their choices and make better choices going forward, regardless of their circumstances.

Three Statistics on Why Accountability Matters Organizationally

A Gallup poll shows that only 41% of employees worldwide strongly agreed that their company holds employees accountable for their performance.

Where there is a strong culture of accountability, a study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) found that organizations outperform their peers by 16% in terms of profitability. And, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), organizations that have a well-defined and enforced accountability framework for project management have a 30% higher success rate in achieving project goals.

In short, where there is organizational accountability, performance measurably improves.

How to Be Individually Accountable

Accountability starts at the individual level, particularly with leaders. Here are three foundational steps to being individually accountable:

  1. Accept responsibility and take ownership for your life. Adopt the phrase, “I am responsible,” and move forward from a place of ownership. Even when events outside of your control impact you, you are responsible for how you respond and how you adapt. Take ownership.
  2. Don’t make excuses or blame other people. Ever. Period. When you do, you relinquish your responsibility, ownership, and control over life. And, it’s a downward spiral. Excuses and blaming are easy, but you are a leader who chooses the higher road, the road of responsibility and accountability.
  3. Stay organized and effectively manage time. Learn to do what matters most, in work and in life. Develop a personal written vision. Set roles and goals. And, most importantly, pre-week plan to take ownership for the key priorities in your life. Use a digital or physical planner and be accountable for your time and life priorities.

How to Be Organizationally Accountable

  1. Lead by example. If leadership shifts blame, makes excuses, and is unorganized, everybody else in the organization will follow suit. It’s that simple. Accountability starts at the top with each individual leader.
  2. Adopt a standardized process for planning. How do your teams and people approach a new project or solving a problem?  Fewer than 10% of organizations have an organization-wide planning and problem solving process. Develop a standardized process for getting a plan in hand of who will do what by when with agreed upon deadlines, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and transparent communication. There’s inherent accountability to standardized processes. If you need an organizational process, evaluate if The Six-Step Process would work for you.
  3. Measure, track and report on performance. Set measurable performance metrics and regularly track progress against them. Have robust systems in place to gather data, assess performance, and report results. This accountability for outcomes helps drive continuous improvement and enables informed decision-making. Get the facts.

Wrapping Up

Accountability is often where growth and development begin. So, decide to be accountable starting today – both individually and organizationally. The world is your oyster.

“It’s only when you take responsibility for your life, that you discover how powerful you truly are!” – Allanah Hunt

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