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Responsibility and Accountability

It doesn’t take much investigation for us to realize that our national economy, and many of our businesses, are in trouble.  A national debt in excess of $16 Trillion, the approaching fiscal cliff, and a high rate of unemployment are but a few of the key indicators that have everyone concerned.

I am concerned about what I believe to be two deeper issues, and I believe that these issues led, in large part, to where we are today.  These two issues are a lack of responsibility and accountability of both our government and business leaders.  When things go south, we are too quick to point the finger of blame at others and to refuse to accept the responsibility and accountability for what has happened.  As long as we have that kind of attitude, none of our critical problems will be fixed.  In addition, we will not be able to improve and move forward because we do not believe, or are unwilling to accept, that we have done anything wrong.

One of the keys to being a successful leader of any kind is the willingness to constantly assess the impact of our actions and decisions, and to be relentlessly honest with ourselves.  Brutally honest assessment, combined with a commitment to be responsible and accountable for the impact of our decisions, is what makes great leaders.

When I am working with business leaders, I always recommend a regular process of evaluation.  The key facets of this process are:

  1. Set aside time, on a regular basis (weekly or monthly), to review what is going on in your life and organization.
  2. Be honest in your assessment of yourself and document the things you have done well, those that could have been done better, and those that were a disaster.
  3. Turn down a glass in celebration of those decisions that were right on target.  Even a simple celebration of successes is important.
  4. Do an autopsy on those decisions that were not on target, or that were a disaster, to understand what happened, where things went wrong, and what you could have done to avoid the mistakes.  This is not a time to beat yourself up, but an opportunity to ask yourself, “What can I learn from these mistakes that will help me make better decisions in the future?”
  5. Meet with key people in your life or organization and take responsibility for what happened.  Ask for their counsel and input, and be willing to be accountable for taking action on any valuable ideas and suggestions they give you.
  6. As you move forward and implement their ideas, give them positive feedback and credit for the way that they have helped you.

Being a real leader is hard work.  It involves honesty, transparency, and a willingness to be vulnerable and open yourself up to others.  As you do that and pursue responsibility and accountability in all that you do, you will see positive changes in your life and business that you never thought possible.


When I was young, I was blessed to be able to get a good education and a good job after I graduated from college.  I was young, energetic, and foolish, thinking that I knew enough to change the world.  My pride got in the way and it cost me dearly.  I paid a heavy price, both financially and relationally, and it took me quite a long time to figure out where I went wrong.

All of my blog posts are about helping you achieve more with your life.  One of the best ways to do that is to help you by talking about my mistakes so that you won’t make the same ones.

In my early years in business, pride took me down because I was focused on the wrong thing – securing my own personal and financial future.  My personal mission and philosophy were off track, and that negatively impacted the rest of my business and personal life.

If your life is not going the way you want it to, what can you do to begin the process of getting things back on track?

Develop a New Philosophy

Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life plays out.  Powerful statement – and very true!  If you are going to impact your world for the better and be successful in what you do, you must develop a personal philosophy of service to others.  I recently found a powerful quote on a website that sums up what each of us should have as a major life goal:

When you were born, you came into the world crying while everyone else was rejoicing.  Live your life in such a way that, when you die, everyone will be crying while you are rejoicing.

Pretty good personal philosophy, isn’t it?

Begin the Process of Getting What You Deserve

We all get paid for the value we bring to the marketplace.  Personal economics just doesn’t get any simpler than that.  You must first add value to the lives of others and, if you do, the rewards of doing that will flow your way and will be in direct proportion to the value and service you render to others.

Zig Ziglar said it best when he told us that when we help enough other people get what they want from life, we will be able to get everything we want.

Always remember that life was not designed to give us what we need.  Life was designed to give us what we deserve.  Make a personal commitment today to begin the process of getting what you deserve by serving others.