The Power of Personal Accountability

The Power of One concept is not new — it’s the bedrock of everything from motivational speeches to Army One. S o, why not begin by setting an example of personal accountability that can be emulated throughout your organization?

the power of personal accountability

There’s an entire industry devoted to the power we have over our destiny.

In the context of Becoming a More Effective Leader, you can view the Power of One as a series of concentric circles that ripple outward from the center … from where you stand as a business leader.

[pullquote]God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Reinhold Nieburh[/pullquote]

With a jittery economy and an historical presidential election on the horizon, we’ve been inundated with economic data, shards of doubt and glimmers of hope. While we can’t ignore these external forces, we can’t allow them to deter our commitment to reclaiming control of our agenda.

It all starts with Personal Accountability

As a result, there’s no better topic with which to start than Personal Accountability, the singular touchstone of professional success over which we have the greatest control.

In general, accountability is a complex stew of expectations, performance standards, achievement and personality that induces indigestion in many businessmen.

While it may be the biggest challenge leaders face, its attainment is critical to a high-performing organization. The sentiment of the quotation that appears above reminds us that we must focus on the things we can control.

Personal Accountability is critical

So, why not begin by setting an example of personal accountability that can be emulated throughout your organization?

To do that, you must first establish a personal workflow and system to reclaim control over all of the things that require your attention.

It’s much bigger than time management or “getting organized” because you must integrate all of the elements of your life into a comprehensive structure … personal, family, school, community, church, business … all of it.

Otherwise, the work/life harmony you need to stay on track will constantly elude you. An all-inclusive system also helps you to achieve a visible calm in the eye of the storm, and set an infectious example for your colleagues.

Let’s Get ’Er done

Many of you know I’m an advocate and practitioner of Getting Things Done (“GTD”), the workflow framework promoted by David Allen.

Yes, it is much more than cleaning off your desk or weeding out your files. It’s not something you’ll get done even in an entire afternoon.

AND … you’re never really done. It will only work if you stay with it, review it regularly and keep at it … but it does work.

Have you seen this movie before?

I know, you’re thinking …

“Yeah … yeah … I’ve seen this movie before.”

“I’ve tried something new every year it seems, usually more than once. I’ve come into the office on a Saturday, even a Sunday sometimes, when I’ve been overloaded and out of control.

“That really helped me … for a while … but it didn’t last and I just fell back into my old ways. I just can’t seem to establish a lasting system to make sure I stay on top of the right things at the right time.”

If you commit to getting control, so will they.

This is where you really need to make a commitment to get control of everything you care about in a reliable, predictable and foolproof system. If you don’t, your promises will lack promise and everyone who wants to follow you will struggle as they watch you struggle to keep up.

When you show them it’s important to you to have control of your own personal workflow, regardless of the level of distractions and the tsunami of information, they’ll pay close attention and work harder to be even better performers themselves.

[pullquote]This is not an undertaking incidental to your success. Quite the contrary, it is absolutely critical![/pullquote]

There are some things that only YOU can do

This is absolutely critical to your success because there are some things that only you can do … and if you don’t do them, no one else can.

But, until you minimize the distractions, stop solving other people’s problems and start preventing fires instead of putting them out … your list will keep growing and more things won’t get done.

Build a Culture of Responsibility in your organization

As your personal accountability becomes transparent within your organization, it also creates a firm foundation upon which you can build a culture of responsibility.

Yes, it’s soothing sometimes to admit the evil interlopers that encumber our performance, reminding us that we’re fallible or that it’s not our fault that things aren’t getting done.

But, make no mistake … it’s on us.

Excuses don’t work.

We have to stay on top of our work flow and, as leaders, demonstrate to everyone around us that we are in control …

we’re in charge of deciding what we’re going to do, and

what we’re not going to do, and

we’re going to stay on that journey until the end.

It’s up to you to construct a renewed, revitalized and successful plan.

Get to work and knock the ball out of the park.

Question: What’s the best tool you have to stay on top of your game and not let things get lost in the shuffle? You can easily add your comment below, or by visiting our Facebook Page or @Exkalibur on Twitter. I visit them every day and look forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with you.

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