November 11

Accountability – how to make it real


Photo by Josh Calabrese

For most of us, from early childhood, being accountable was associated with being punished for doing the wrong thing – if and when we were caught. As adults, we still feel the same. That belief is not aligned with what being accountable means – at least not in a business environment.

So, step one:Get rid of the belief that accountability is connected to punishment. Replace that dysfunctional belief with a new one. Being accountable is about continuous improvement.Accountability is about continuously learning and practicing and living up to your full potential.

As leaders, creating a culture of accountability means identifying any and all behaviors that contradict what you stand for – and use that discovery to teach and coach and monitor and measure performance against those standards. 

In referring what you stand for, I’m talking about your values – your non-negotiable beliefs; your promise to the world about what you are willing to be held accountable for living. Those promises are judged by the values you actually live – they are not simply words on wall plaques. 

Those values turned inward define your culture. And what is your culture?Itis the collective whole of what you do and why you do it – shaped and defined by the values you live. 

Step two:Choose the right values. What are the right values? How will you know if your choices are good ones?

Let’s begin by describing your (or any) organization at its organic level. Any organization is a collection of some people and some assets, glued together by your purpose and made sustainable by your relevance. Lose your relevance and you’re headed for extinction – at any size. Think Sears, ToysRUs.   

You have a business model. You have strategic objectives. You deliver something of value to your customers. Hopefully it is unique enough to give you some competitive edge and it helps you stay relevant. You have employees. They do the heavy lifting. They are also the source of new ideas, new ways of thinking and doing. If not, they should be. You treat your customers and, hopefully, your employees with respect. And beyond growing your sales and earnings, you have a greater purpose – a reason for being that will define your legacy.

What values support all of that? What behaviors must you mandate to create your culture, to propel your organization to believe and achieve at a level of excellence that has you performing at your absolute peak?

Answering those questions will tell you what your values must be. Your values reflect your choices. You are not bound by your past beliefs and ingrained habits. You can change them any time you choose.

Of course, we’re not finished. We’ve just described the first couple of steps. There will be more to come in our next blogs. 

To some of you, this blog might seem preachy, even pedantic. If it is, why do so many large organizations completely miss the fundamental premises? How and why did Wells Fargo miss the boat? Why did Uber go completely off the rails – and continues to do so while proclaiming that they’re on the right track? And if the big guys missed it so badly what about all the smaller companies? What about yours?   

By Bill Leider, Managing Partner, Axíes Group      


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Book Reviews

Mastering Your Balance

Amazon Book Reviews

D. Thurman April 7, 2021

The areas of balance required to perform as a top level organization are lifted from the almost unconscious to the very conscious in Mastering Your Balance. As a business and executive coach I see business leaders mostly consumed 95% if the time with near term issues. A perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole.

Perhaps, getting the various elements covered in the book in play and more importantly in balance these leaders would have far less moles to whack, and therefore much more time and energy available execute on their greater purpose.

Shane Willard April 21, 2021

Bill & Jason get it. Having coached thousands of businesses and business leaders their insight is invaluable. They beautifully weave Vision, Values, Culture, Strategy & Purpose together into actionable steps any leader can implement. As they say, no matter how good one is at these individual elements, without balance greatness will always lie just behind your reach.

The 'what-would-it-take' concept in Chapter 2 makes you peel back the excuses and think creatively. "To achieve the impossible you must first envision the improbable."

At its core, this book serves as a blueprint for each vital element necessary to achieve success and balance organizationally (and personally). It reminds leadership where they need to focus.

Joe Fera April 1, 2021

What would it take to shatter your limiting beliefs and lead your company to heights only dreamed? Read ‘Mastering Your Balance’. Bill & Jason have demystified the ‘Dark Matter’ of great leadership and great organizations and boiled it down to highly actionable and implementable elements. Aha moments abound!

LR March 31, 2021

Mastering Your Balance answers the question and is a must read and reread for any organization daring to go from good to great! Mastering Your Balance shines a much needed light, drawing our attention to it, causing us to remember it's significance. More than words, we are reminded that a carefully crafted mission/vision statement is the organization's North Star.

Severin Sorensen March 24, 2021

As a business coach I'm always looking for books to inspire the human mind, and give direction to business owners seeking to raise their performance in the great game of business. Mastering Your Balance is one of those books. The authors are experienced in the art of giving profound advice to their clients.