Book Review: Accountability Important? Hell Yes!

One of my goals of this sabbatical was to do some reading. I have accomplished that – read three books (other 2 book reviews to come). The book, Sam Silverstein’s The Five Accountabilities,  that I just completed, was on a subject that I have written from time to time on accountability (What No Personal Responsibility and Staying in Touch).  Reading this book, I was definitely excited to see that he has put to action some of the items that (from my experience) are talked about but rarely implemented. The five accountabilities are: 
  1. Doing the Right Things. Begin by identifying your strategic intent. What are you trying to accomplish and by when? We are accountable for understanding and identifying our strategic intent—and the activities that support it.
  2. Managing Your Space. We are accountable to create the new space we need to grow and innovate in our own lives, which sometimes means taking space from something else that we’re doing. “Force of habit prevents us from giving ourselves the physical, mental, financial, or emotional space necessary to shake things up a little bit and put something new in our lives—something that could provide growth and improvement.”
  3. Managing the Process. We are accountable for creatively making progress toward whatever it is we are trying to make happen even when we hit an obstacle. It means not throwing up our hands and saying, “If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.”
  4. Establishing the Right Expectations. We are accountable for establishing the right expectations, that reflect our values, that are properly benchmarked, and are a bit of a stretch.
  5. Contributing to Your Relationships. The success or failure of our relationships depends entirely on the contributions we make. We are accountable for giving to our relationships—without keeping track. “In fact, the quickest way to kill a relationship is to start keeping track of all the reasons it’s not your turn to give to it and support it.” Sam adds, “We should constantly be looking for ways to invest in the relationship and enhance the value of the relationship over time.”

For me, I worry that too many times accountability is passed off to others, rather than just assumed and accepted. If you truly give service (not lip service) to these 5 items, I bet your people will follow you anywhere. That they look up to you, as a mentor and coach. Over at his website – he has all the contact information and free tools and exercises to help you implement the Five Accountabilities.

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