Accountability is the obligation of an individual or an organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility, and disclose the results in a transparent manner.  Or, in simple terms, do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, how you said you would do it.  Accountability examples include taking full ownership of your decisions, actions, and behaviors.  It means clearly communicating the activity agreement to all parties involved accurately, timely, and effectively.  And, delivering the agreed upon results.  Exceptional accountability improves our productivity by creating clarity and decreasing uncertainty and confusion.  Whether in personal life or in the business world, the most important outcome of accountability is trust, which is the foundation for any good relationship.   Both individual and organizational greatness is tied to their culture of accountability.  Furthermore, the quality and quantity of our collective outcomes is directly linked to accountability.   Whether dealing with bosses, direct reports, clients, vendors, peers, friends, or family, we all benefit from accountability growth.

Why do people struggle with accountability, both to themselves and with others?  As you can imagine, there are a variety of reasons.  Lack of discipline, lack of skills, lack of organization, fear of failure, avoidance of responsibility, denial of importance, misunderstanding, time management issues, lack of focus, and lack of consequences all cause shortfalls in our ability to hold ourselves, and others, accountable.  Personally, I believe lack of basic training and lack of understanding simple accountability habits are the biggest culprits.

Do you struggle with holding yourself accountable?  Do you struggle with holding others accountable to you?  I attended a workshop performed by Mike Scott, President of “Totally Accountable,” who in my opinion is an absolute accountability guru!  I left his lecture with numerous easy to apply tools to accelerate my growth.  Here are 5 basic rules I learned that you can follow to grow in your accountability skills, both with yourself and with others.  These 5 rules have provided unmeasurable benefits to my life.

  1. Always agree on the completion date and time for all delegated work.
  2. Always paraphrase or repeat all verbal requests to avoid uncertainty and misunderstanding.
  3. Always develop a system to keep track of all delegated work.
  4. Always insist on results with no surprises. If surprises occur during the process, ensure a communication channel for new information is available for presentation in a clearly and timely manner, for yourself and for others.
  5. Always behave as the model of accountability in all areas of your life.

Apply these 5 steps to your life and observe the difference.

You can learn more about Mike and “Totally Accountable” at

Which of these rules can you implement and improve upon today to grow in your accountability?