The foundation of accountability is commitment.
When one is committed to accomplishing something, the hesitation and fear are replaced by resolve and energy. When one is not committed, they tend to produce long stories and excuses.
During one of my senior executive stints, a manager who reported to me had a standard reply when I asked when a task or result would be completed. She would say, “Hopefully….” She was not committed, nor was she accountable.
Sometimes a person will say, “I cannot be accountable for that because I don’t have full control over it.” He or she is confusing being accountable with being in control. Hardly anyone is fully in control: A sales person does not have full control over buyers buying, but they are still accountable for the result. A manufacturing manager does not have full control over efficiencies or safety, but is still accountable for both. The challenge of accountability is to take whatever actions are necessary (within the values of the organization) to get the result.
Accountability is being answerable for results. Responsibility is being answerable for actions and behaviors. Both rest on commitment.
© Copyright 2016 Bob Legge
Bob Legge provides organizations with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals. I work with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org