term “accountability” often conjures up thoughts of unmet expectations, failure to deliver, negative consequences, and blame, but it does not have to. Accountability is the key to ownership, pride, a sense of accomplishment, and rewards.

Ever work with the statement: “under promise and over deliver?” That phrase has its roots in corporate America, where to “think big” but not be able to deliver is punishable by ridicule, lost opportunities, negative reviews, and even loss of income. The results have been a game of “smoke and mirrors”, whereby managers and employees set a challenge goal privately and then deliver another shorter goal to the group that will evaluate them. This has evolved into an acceptable practice . . . share only what you are positive you can accomplish. How much production, action and/or income are unrealized because employees, business owners or managers are afraid to declare what they think they are capable of?

Just imagine what is possible if everyone . . . business owners, managers, and employees alike . . . are willing to reach for the stars and then to be accountable to deliver the universe. This all begins with an understanding of the essential steps to accountability.

The 5 Essential Steps to Being Accountable

  1. 1. See it: you have identified your opportunities and are clear on your vision for taking advantage of them. Be open to taking suggestions from others on the opportunities that might be available to you. Ask for input and get feedback from people you know and trust.


  1. 2. Declare it: make it public. This declaration can be everything from a spoken resolution to a publicized challenge. In business it most often takes the form of a written strategic plan shared with all of the key stakeholders of the organization.


  1. 3. Own it: take responsibility for the delivery of the plan or forecast. Make it your mission to deliver on the opportunities you have seen and declared. Do not expect anyone to deliver on your promise and do not blame anyone other than yourself if it does not come to fruition.


  1. 4. Do it: take the action needed to realize your opportunity. Be strategic in your thinking. Determine “what” should be done “when” and then do it. It can also mean taking advantage of any resources you need. Know where your weaknesses, roadblocks and challenges are and create solutions to them. Not sure what they are? Engage someone to help you. A business coach is a perfect person to assist you.


  1. 5. Review it: Reward is the outcome of review. From the moment accomplishments are recognized you feel a sense of reward. Reward is a powerful motivation factor. Public reward is even more powerful. Review progress in public, either in your office, your board room or any group of professionals that share a desire for your success. What if you did not reach your goal or intention? Make adjustments. They are also a critical component of success. If you do not know where you are, you cannot move forward with clarity.


  1. 6. Model it: The most effective leaders model accountability, set clear expectations and agreements for accountability, educate on accountability, provide opportunities to “see, declare, do and review”, recognize and reward accomplishments, have a constructive approach to missed opportunities or goals, and are committed to confronting those that are not accountable.

Coach’s Challenge:

Review your commitment to accountability. Have you identified your opportunities? Have you declared your intentions? Are you working your action plan? Do your review your progress regularly? Are you modeling accountability for anyone who looks up to you or that you manage?

If not, let’s talk.

Your success is my business,