I was reading an article today about one of Marshall Goldsmith’s ‘weird’ habits. He has hired a person who he calls on the phone everyday to report his answers to a set of questions he asks himself everyday. Simple things such as did I floss and did I exercise to bigger questions such as I did I meet my goals, did I exude positiveness and so on. He calls it his list of ‘daily questions’. The purpose of this exercise is to keep him accountable to the most important things in his life. He has three areas of questioning – behavioral changes, personal and professional development related.
Accountability is a powerful motivator, for me. When I am accountable for something or someone, I will go beyond my abilities to fulfill my commitments. Even simple things such as showing up for a party/meeting on time, doing the best at something, being there for someone and so on and so forth.
By practicing the principle of holding yourself accountable to your commitments and actions, it encourages you to step up and take responsibility. I’ve seen this especially in work settings. People who are held accountable AND who hold themselves accountable for the success of a project, task , client interaction, give it all their best and will do whatever it takes to get the work done. When you don’t hold yourself accountable for a task, it is easy to pass the buck and look for excuses and others to blame. My son for example, will say I did not remind him to practice his piano and hence he performs poorly in the class. I am working with him on holding himself accountable for his success in piano class!
A great illustration of this is as seen in the customer service experience at many retail and food joints. When the associates at these joints hold themselves accountable for the success of the sale at their restaurant or retail place, they strive to do a better job than those who don’t hold themselves accountable.
Some people have the self discipline to hold themselves accountable. Others work better when someone else holds them accountable. I have also seen immense benefits in people who work with coaches to hold them accountable. Accountability is a foundational element in the coaching paradigm. One of the benefits of working with coaches be it for your team sport or a business coach, is the accountability factor.
Today’s message is simple – harness the power of accountability either by learning to be more self-accountable or working with someone else to hold you accountable to make a significant improvement to your life, career and/or business!