I found this piece on Accountability and I thought it would be worth sharing with you. The piece came across my desk over 10 years ago and it has been with me ever since. Not knowing who authored it, I framed it and added it to my wall and it has served as a guidepost and helped me when I have gotten lost in my elaborate victim stories of what was happening and or going on.  Understanding and accepting this distinction of Accountability in my life has served me well and I hope you find this as valuable as I did and it makes a difference for you.

Have a great weekend.



Accountability is foundational to world class performance in any realm. It means taking a position of ownership for all of the events and actions in my life. When I am accountable, I have the experience of personal power, control effectiveness, and accomplishment.

From my vantage point of accountability, I see that things don’t just happen by accident or at random. I can look at everything that occurs in a manner which illuminates how what I did or didn’t do played a critical role in events turning out as they did. Looking at my involvement, no matter how small it might appear to be, as essential to the outcome, is the only way to look at events which puts me in the position of ownership. It is only from this position of ownership that I can be in action.

If I choose not to be accountable, I am choosing to be a victim. Playing the victim is a good way to get sympathy, attention, and get me off the hook, but it leaves me powerless and at the effect of everyone and everything. When I am being a victim, I have the delusion of being on moral high ground as a result of having unjust suffering inflicted upon me. This is a compelling position as I can induce guilt and shame in myself and others. However, it is not a position of authentic power, for as a victim I always have to wait for others to rescue me. When I am being a victim, I always ask, “Why did it happen? Whose fault is it? Who do I blame?”

My division has been redirected…

My unit has been downsized…

My budget has been cut…

My marriage is not going well…

In these circumstances it is very easy to invent a victim story. “Poor me …They did it to me again.” With a good victim story, I can assign fault and blame and spend lots of time suffering. An accountable approach is to see the circumstances and accept them as they are and then ask, “Now what? Given that this is so, what am I going to do?”

Accountability is a personal choice I make about how I am going to approach life and every situation in it. It is not the same as responsibility. Responsibility is something that can be delegated or assigned. Accountability only occurs by choice.

World-class teams are made up of individuals who have each personally chosen to be accountable for the performance of the team. That does not mean they are each responsible, but that each is taking ownership for the outcome of the whole. As accountability is a personal choice, there is no such thing as team accountability. There are teams of individuals who have each chosen to be accountable, but no accountable teams.

In the realm of accountability, the challenge is to see how far I can expand my horizon of accountability. Can I be accountable for my Self, my Team, and my Business?

When I choose to be accountable, every new situation is a challenge, an opportunity to learn. The more I expand my horizon of accountability, the more I experience freedom from the cycle of guilt, blame, and shame, both for myself and others.

When I am being accountable, I focus on what is working rather than what is wrong.

If I choose to be a “victim,” I will procrastinate, not keep agreements, and invent terrific stories to explain why it wasn’t – my fault.

When I am being accountable, I know that I am choosing and I own the consequences of my choices.

When I am accountable, life is exciting and I am in control; not controlling, but powerfully, consciously choosing moves to effect the outcome.

Victims tend to complain, suffer from all of life’s problems, become easily confused or frustrated, and already know everything.

Accountable people are enthusiastic, alive, and aware. They have inner peace, a strong self-image and are committed to learning.

I choose accountability. If it’s to be, it really is up to me.

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