The Power of Accountability

Accountable is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Accountability, however, means preventing something from going wrong. These are two very different meanings, the first brings back thoughts of being sent to the principal’s office in Primary School, knowing the fate that awaited me (the good old days of corporal punishment, “bend over my boy”). The second awakes emotions of control and being able to salvage something before it’s too late.

I believe we all have the best intentions to achieve the things we desire in our lives, why wouldn’t we? Surely if you want something so much so that you desire it, you would do what’s necessary to achieve it? Logically, that makes sense, as it did to me. I built out my financial plan and in turn my business plan, which upon achievement gives me everything I’ve ever dreamed of from life (for now). I set the plan in motion and moved forward with those activities that I believed were necessary to get the job done. 5 months later and I have had a very rude awakening, all I can say is thank my lucky stars it’s only 5 months down the line or come end of the year, I’d be marching myself down to the principal’s office (probably for a stern talking to these days, and maybe some introspection).

The point is, I have experienced accountability (as per the meaning), and I’m able to prevent something from going wrong, my life’s ambitions. Again, you would think something that is so important to me would have the necessary failsafe in place? But I guess we are all human and I thought I had it under control, I thought I had implemented the steps for accountability. I had written down my goals, I had shown them to my loved ones, I had put them out there for the world to see (I literally have them planted above my workspace in my office). What did I do wrong? I never implemented an Accountability system.


  1. Tell Someone:
    The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
    Tell the person you choose what your goal is and why it’s important for you to achieve it, and agree on what you’d like them to do if you don’t achieve it. Choose someone who will challenge you, engage with you, and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.
  2. Schedule Accountability Calls:
    Put structures in place to measure your progress, schedule accountability sessions in advance, put them in your calendar so they don’t get lost in the busyness of day to day life.
    “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas S. Monson
  3. Give someone permission to hold you accountable (accept the repercussions of your “failed” actions).
    Make sure that your accountability person is more bite than bark, enable them to hold you accountable to yourself. It’s a psychological thing, we don’t mind letting ourselves down, but when we know someone else will be let down/ disappointed in us, we tend to avoid that at all costs, and in this instance, that means doing what needs to be done to achieve the things that matter the most to us.

Identifying your goals and dreams, and setting out a plan and track to run on in order to achieve them, can be one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself, but failing at it because there wasn’t an accountability system in place, can be one of the most soul destroying things. Put an accountability system in place TODAY (PS, I can help with this 🙂 )

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