Posts Tagged personal power


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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Ability vs. Willingness

A stand I take is that I am fundamentally able. I hold that, given the limitations of my human body, I am able to do anything I choose. This does not mean I am at this moment completely competent, but that I am able to learn and become competent. Personal empowerment begins when I hold myself as able. Team empowerment begins when I hold others as able.

The essential issue here is personal power. It is much more powerful to hold myself as able. From this position, I can choose. In high-performing teams, each individual is held and holds the others as able. That doesn’t mean they are equally competent, but it is from this belief in each other that support and coaching can emerge. When I hold others as able, I empower them and the team. When I take the stand that my team is able, I am willing to give them additional responsibilities, let go of control, and work as a coach, not a boss.

In a study I once read – two elementary school teachers were assigned carefully matched classes of students with a similar history of average performance. One teacher was told that it was a class of gifted children, and the other, that the students were remedial. By the end of the school year, the ‘gifted” students had made significant gains and were achieving well above average for children of their age. The “remedial” students had lost ground, actually dropping below average.

Each class had lived up to the expectations of their teacher. One class was held as able and the other as unable. I empower myself and everyone else to perform at an extraordinary level when I hold people as able.

Every time I say “I can’t,” I disempower myself and provide myself with an excuse for not risking. The issue for me is not whether I am able, the issue is, “Am I Willing?” I always have a choice between “I can’ and “I can’t ” Both are equally habit-forming.

Have a wonderful July!!


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Choice- A Leadership Distinction

A vital stand to take in the process of increasing my personal power and enhancing my performance is the fact that I come from ”I always have a choice.” From this vantage point, I can see that everything I am and have is the result of the choices I have made in my life. I choose my attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings. I choose my job, my relationships, and through the choices I make about eating, drinking, smoking, and exercise, I choose my body weight, shape, level of health, and how long I will live. Ultimately, everything in my life is a result of the choices I have made.

If I do not hold that I always have a choice, life then exists as a series of Have To’s and shoulds. I have to go to work, I have to love my husband, I have to take care of my kids, I have to pay my taxes, and I have to keep doing all of these, I should be a better team player, I should be a better leader, I should know how to do that- etc, etc, … Life as a series of Have To’s, shoulds and need too’s produces a mood of resentment and frustration in my life and this too is a choice. The payoff for this choice is that I get to avoid responsibility, dominate others, be right, which ultimately make me and others wrong and constantly be in a place of justification and invalidation. The cost of living as if i do not have a choice is that I feel out of control, powerless, and victimized.

There is no promise that I will always have choices I like. However, there is a powerful stand I can take which is, “I Always Have A Choice.” I may not choose to have my work project canceled, my team reassigned, my budget cut, or a negative evaluation, but I can choose how I am going to react to these occurrences and what moves I am going to make to produce the result I desire.

I can also choose not to choose. This will result in someone else choosing for me, or circumstances shifting until the field of choices narrows to the point where I have the experience of there being “no choice.”

A vital stand to take in the process of increasing personal power and enhancing individual performance is that ”I always have a choice.”

Have a wonderful month.


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