Accountability: A Compass, A Rudder, and An Anchor
Accountability is defined as:
the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
Most of us, most of the time, would be OK if we did not have anyone to keep us honest. I feel that, for the most part, people can hold themselves to a high enough standard that the leave a penny, take a penny holders would remain undefiled.
That being said, the power of someone or a group to keep you accountable cannot be underestimated.
They can be a compass at times — gently reminding you of your path. At other times they can be a rudder —steering you through choppy waters. And then again, they can be anchors, for when those storms in your life beat you up.
I know, I know — the warm fuzzy term “accountability partner” makes some of you recoil. Just the thought of needing someone like that in your life makes you feel like you have been demoted.
You may have people holding you accountable and not even realize it. Our children are a great example. Follow through is a sacred thing for children and they do not outgrow that — ever. Your spouse is another accountability partner that quickly comes to mind —being able to deliver on promises to my wife is something I know is a non-negotiable.
Beware of the voice in your head telling you that there is not a need for someone to hold you to your word or let you know you have strayed off whatever course you are supposed to be on. This goes beyond a moral high ground, although it is a great place to start. I am talking about having someone you trust tell you that you are distracted. That the deal you are chasing is not a good long term play. Someone who can remind you that winning in business sometimes means surviving your failures.
There have been times in my life that I have served as someone’s accountability partner and other times when I have had to lean on others to keep me on the correct path. Both roles serve to humble us — to remind us we do not have to go at it alone, that mistakes are there to learn from, not define us, and that regardless of whether it’s a compass, rudder, or anchor — we need accountability to get from where we are to where we want to be.