Accountability and The Set Up

Accountability is about three things. First, making clear commitments. Second, telling the truth on yourself and owning your choices (that led to me not honoring my commitments). Third, recovering when I am out of accountability and learning from my failures. And I can only really learn from my failures when I’m honest about my choices.

Last week I missed some key commitments, which means I’m out of accountability with myself. I didn’t make those commitments to anyone else, so I’m not out of accountability with anyone else (only myself). That’s where most of you miss the point with accountability – it’s not about holding others accountable, but about holding myself accountability and supporting others in their own self-accountability. Let’s look at what happened to my commitments and accountability last week.

I made clear commitments, but the key is for me to tell the truth to myself and own my choices (most important, the deeper truths of what I call a set up last week). Let me give you a flavor of my last 13 days. I left Cleveland on Thursday, August 25 to drive to a 4-day personal retreat in Charlottesville VA. I was mostly off the grid for those 4 days. From VA, I drove to Raleigh, NC for 3 days of speaking, networking and connecting with friends, which included nearly 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. days. I then drove to Atlanta GA to meet my Dad for our annual Civil War history trip throughout GA for 5 days.

I returned to Cleveland this past Tuesday night in time to attend the Indians game with some friends after being gone for 13 straight days, driving 2898 miles and spending minimal time working while I was away (especially when I was at the retreat and with my Dad). ALL good choices and I’d make those same choices again (choosing to be present for myself and others), so what can I learn to use in the future (to help me execute better)? Beware the set up!

I knew I was going to be gone for 13 straight days. I knew I was going to have very little time to complete key tasks, stay on top of emergencies and short time priorities, and to work on my key commitments. While I made some choices that kept me from honoring my commitments during the 13 days, the key learning is that I never should have made all of those key commitments for a period when I knew I would have limited time to complete them. I set myself up!

We all set ourselves up, but what you do after the set-up is critical. In what ways do you set yourself up? In what ways do you recover and, most important, do things differently the following week or the “next time?” Most people fall back to “I’ll do better,” but this rarely changes outcomes or results. Better doesn’t change things – different changes things.

What will you do different in the coming week with your plans, your goals, your commitments, and your choices? After all, it’s the different that gets you different outcomes.

If you’d like to receive these Daily Wake Up Calls every morning via email, join our community of different thinkers by signing up here. Please also join me on Facebook and Twitter.


Speak Your Mind