Category Archives: Accountability

Who Are You Accountable To?

9.2.15Accountability is never to a number. Accountability is always to a person.

Simon Sinek

The question in the headline: “Who are you accountable to?” is a sticky one for entrepreneurs, especially if they are small business owners who are performing every function of the business–product creation, sales/marketing, administration, production, leadership and chief technician.  You wear all the hats and are frankly accountable to no one but yourself.  Most likely, that is why you started your own business.

In fact, the nature of the question actually insinuates you should be accountable to someone other than yourself.  But, is that true?  Isn’t it possible that you can and will be the person that you are accountable to, and that you as a solopreneur have the ability to compartmentalize your functions so that you can be accountable to yourself?  Yes!  That is possible.  What is important is that you are accountable to someone, even if that someone is YOU.

So, what is accountability?  According to the Webster’s Dictionary –Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

The strength of the definition is in the phrase to account for one’s actions.  In order to be able to be accountable, one has to design measurable results for each of the functions of the business.  The measurable results are most powerful when they are quantifiable, specific, and also have a “by when” date attached.  When you do that then you have set up a way to be accountable to yourself.  Your planning does not have to elaborate, but it does have to have at least the minimum categories of what, by when and how much.  There are a ton of ways to plan for your business offered both on the internet and in business books.  Keeping in mind that simple plans are usually easier to implement than detailed plans with minute categories and subcategories.

Following this simple plan based on accountability will give you the structure you need to review the success of your business.  It will also make your business successful since you are being accountable for its success.  As your business grows you may want to engage someone to work with you to continue to grow your business.  If you already have a habit of accountability, you will be able to expect others who you hire to be accountable too.  Accountability allows you to set a standard of performance that will ensure that your business is outstanding.

You Want To Quit? Why?

4.8.15One of my clients just realized one of his biggest intentions.  He has been accepted to show his work in a prestigious art festival.  It is a juried show; has hundreds of applicants from across the United States; and fewer than 20% of the applicants are accepted.  He sent me an email announcing his win with a cartoon doing a happy dance.  Indeed!  Time for celebration!

This intention has been on his list of things to be accomplished for several years, but he has never been selected, or judged by this show panel—not because he isn’t a good artist, but because this was the first year he applied for acceptance.  You see, he always quit before he tried to enter.  He didn’t think he could ever make it in so he just didn’t enter.

So, what are you holding back from doing?  What is it that is on your to be accomplished list that has been there forever?  What is it that you don’t think you are good enough to accomplish even though you would be thrilled if you did?  Why?

I am not being bad with you when I ask the question Why?  I would really like to know and I think that your answer to that question does beg to be examined.  In fact, usually your first answer to that question is never really the answer.  It takes asking that question 5 times, always going deeper with each answer, to really find out what is happening with you that is keeping you from moving forward toward that bright dream you are afraid to reach for.  Usually what you find out is that what is holding you back is so small and doable that you will then forge ahead.

Try this Why exercise for yourself, with something that you really want to accomplish, and see what happens.  Most likely you will discover that what is holding you back disappears.  You might even discover an easy way to win just as my client did.


No Joke!

4.1.15Happy April Fool’s Day!

This day is favorite for pranksters and jokesters to have some innocent fun with their colleagues.  The day was created in the 16th Century.  It is not an official holiday in any country, however, it is enthusiastically celebrated throughout Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States.  I do hope you have a prank up your sleeve so you can have a good belly laugh with your friends.

What is not a joke is measuring for results in your business.  If you do not do this one simple thing, it is highly unlikely that your business will achieve the success that you want.

What is it about measuring for results that keeps us from doing it?  Is it fear of failure?  Of not measuring up?  Somewhere along the line we decided it is better not to know if we are succeeding than it is to know that we haven’t succeeded.  Also, measuring for results then has us be accountable for what we said that we would do.  In order to avoid the domination of accountability, we just simply do not report or measure for our results.  Consequently, we walk around in the fog of not knowing what we are achieving and making ourselves wrong for not achieving it.  This is a formula for insanity.  Really, when you think about it, why would we do that to ourselves?

The best way to train yourself to measure for results is to set up a daily game.  In this game you name just one thing that you will do to move your business forward that day.  Write it down and make it measurable.  An easy example of doing that is to design the number of sales calls you will make for that day.  At the end of the day, write down what happened.  Boom!  You have measured for a result in your business.

If you analyze why it happened or didn’t happen, you will be one step ahead of learning what works and doesn’t work in the daily practice of your business.  Keeping in mind that zero is a number, and there is nothing wrong with zero.  After all, it is a starting place.

This practice elevates your understanding of what works and what doesn’t.  You will develop more strength in managing your business for success.  Who doesn’t want that?


Image courtesy of Taesmileland at


Call Me…

3.18.15Like most of us I like hearing good news, and I love hearing breakthrough news from coaching clients.  Yesterday, I heard breakthrough news that is so exciting and over the top that I am sharing it with you.  One of my clients just closed a quarter million dollar contract.  She was excited.  I was over the moon pleased for her.

This contract wasn’t just going to happen.  This was not a lucky break.  She made it happen.  And she made it happen just like you can with taking the steps that are necessary to provide world class service to your clients.

Here are the qualities that produce breakthrough results:

  • A passionate belief in yourself and your ability to provide the services.
  • A clear vision of the core services you provide.
  • The ability to communicate clearly about your core services.
  • A continuing dedication to education about the latest developments in your field.
  • Knowing your target market like you know your best friend.
  • Keeping your word.
  • Planning your work and working your plan.
  • Communicating fully and honestly if you cannot keep your word.  Renewing a new “by when” for keeping your word.
  • Being willing to create a measurement for your results which includes “by whens” and promises and “go fors”.
  • Being willing to fail and to learn from the failures.
  • A refusal to be a victim of failure.
  • An unstoppable tenacity and persistence.
  • Having someone you trust hold you accountable for results.

Again and again I see these qualities in clients.  They are the people who have extraordinary results in their lives and in their businesses.

If you feel stuck.  If you feel like you can’t reach high enough for the breakthrough results you are longing for, please call me.  Together we can make your intention come true by clearing away what is holding you back from making that same kind of excited triumphant,” I did it!” telephone call to me.

I will look forward to hearing from you.


– Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Four Practices Of Successful Entrepreneurs

2.4.15In order to succeed in business, and in life, we need basic practices that become valuable, dependable allies when our problems loom larger than we are.

Every person has a set of default practices that he has learned over the years.  They usually remain in the background until we are faced with a challenge; then they come forward.  These default practices are seldom what is needed to succeed in business.  You may want to adopt some new ones.

Here are the practices I use every day. They are effective and powerful.

  • Keep your word.  Communicate immediately if you cannot.
  • Claim responsibility when something goes wrong.
  • Measure for results and include a “by when” date for the results to occur.
  • Have someone you trust hold you accountable for these results.

When business people use these practices there is a certain ease about them.  They are trust worthy.  If they make a mistake, it is easy to forgive them and carry on.  In short, on the playing field of business, these practices go a long way in having people be respected and successful.

They are not always easy to adhere to.  It is easier to remain silent (rather than communicate).  It is always tempting to blame someone else (rather than take the responsibility yourself).  And the safety of not telling anyone what we intend to do (in case it doesn’t turn out).  Haven’t we all done that?  In the end, the easy way bites us, causes more problems, and makes us seem untrustworthy.

Being conscious of using the practices gives you the opportunity to stand out, be respected, and trusted.

How Well Does Accountability Play with Responsibility?

flashlightGive someone responsibility and they will do their best. Make them accountable and they will do even better.

Simon Sinek

What happens when you add the ingredient of “accountability” to “responsibility”?  Simon Sinek, author and visionary thinker, suggests that these two traits combined result in a better way to get results.

Many of us are confused about the distinction between accountability and responsibility.  Let’s look at how they are defined first by Merriam -Webster and see how they differ and complement each other.

Responsibility: the state of being the person who caused something to happen: a duty or task that you are required or expected to do

Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

At first glance they seem like similar terms, don’t they? They are different in the way that they are used in that responsibility points to something that you are required to do, whereas accountability points to accepting the task and saying, “You can count on me and hold me to account to complete the task.”

When you begin doing some critical thinking about it, you will be able to consider that there is a merging of the two definitions that make them stronger together.  Consider that taking responsibility is accepting that you are required or expected to do something, whereas adding accountability is a willingness to take on a task and be “count-on-able” to get that task done.

Put into everyday language: responsibility means, “I will take the credit if it works and the blame if it doesn’t”—whereas accountability is, “It will work!”

In looking at your life, can you see that when you are responsible and accountable for your actions that you are stronger and in a powerful position?  And when you have been only responsible that the tendency to be victimized by accepting a task occurs.  However, when you accept responsibility and accountability, the victim disappears and who emerges is a confident person who can deliver what they say they will deliver.

I look forward to hearing from you about this conversation. Please comment below.  Have a terrific week!