Accountability can be a bridge to achieving results.

I was working with a friend today on some questions for a conversation starter. The topic – holding self and others accountable. Some of the questions we generated:

  • What does accountability mean to me?
  • When have I seen accountability support my goals and success?
  • Where is it difficult to hold myself accountable?
  • Are there opportunities for me to support someone else’s success by holding them accountable?

Merriam‑Webster’s definition of accountability is “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”

However, in the article, “How to Create a Culture of Accountability,” Roger Connors and Tom Smith, present a different definition of accountability: a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results—to See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It.”

This definition is inspiring and practical; it sets a vision for rising above and achieving results and lays out a plan that invites awareness, responsibility, creativity, and commitment.

Recently, I found myself half way through our fiscal year struggling with accountability for some of the commitments I made six months ago. With that awareness came the understanding that I bear the responsibility for the lack of progress on my goals (SEE IT & OWN IT).  I realized that circumstances, distractions, and excuses were roadblocks to my desired results. This awareness was an important step towards transforming my thinking.

After seeing it and owning it, it dawned on me to ask for help by enlisting an accountability partner. In our first meeting, we spoke about my goals, a plan, and next steps with deadlines.

No more will I allow circumstances to sidetrack me. I now have an accountability partner who is coaching me to follow through on my commitment. She checks in with me periodically and that is just the motivation I need to stay on track. Accountability keeps me aware and responsible (SOLVE IT & DO IT).

In a study done by Dominican University, accountability was shown to increase the success rate of goal achievement. 267 participants were recruited from a variety of professions, ages ranging from 23-72 and from several countries (USA, Belgium, England, India, Australia and Japan). Participants were randomly assigned to several conditions which fell on a continuum that began with those who simply thought about their goals (Group 1) to the other extreme –  those who wrote them down, formulated actions commitments, sent them to a friend, and had weekly check-ins to follow-up (Group 5).

“At the end of the study, the individuals in Group 1 only accomplished 43 percent of their stated goals…while those in Group 5 were the most successful, with an average 76 percent of their goals accomplished.”

Accountability to one’s self and to a partner can be a bridge to achieving our goals. It can provide a path over and through obstacles to help us reach our desired results destination.

What challenge are you facing where an accountability partner might be useful for you?  Who can you ask?



Carla Ruiz

Carla Ruiz

Carla’s mission is to fuel growth and development by affirming strengths, challenging beliefs, and igniting potential through Values Based Leadership. She presents, facilitates, and coaches in a variety of leadership programs and with companies intentional about strengthening their culture. In her role as a Leadership Development Coach, she is passionate about increasing emotional intelligence, which she believes is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

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