6 Personal Accountability is a Necessary Part of Success By: Bill I. Brasley, HR Director How much of your success would you say is up to you and how much of it do you think is based on someone else, or factors beyond your control? Are you where you want to be profession- ally or personally – why or why not? Be careful how you answer that question. Research shows that there is a direct link between your professional and personal success, or the lack there of, and what you believe is helping or hindering your success. In other words, you are directly responsible for your success. You have to hold yourself accountable for your work and your life. Don’t make excuses or blame someone else, or external forces, for failures or problems that you face. Take ownership of prob- lems and situations that you face. The concept of ownership is important – if you own something, you are responsi- ble for it. “Accountability is accepting responsibility for your actions and being willing to be answerable to the out- comes of our choices, decisions, and ac- tions. Accountability equates to living in integrity – being consistent in thoughts, words and actions.” “…being consistent in thoughts, words and actions” reminds me of a quote from my brother Carl when he played profes- sional football in Canada. After a game in which he played well he was asked by a reporter about his ability to consis- tently make plays. He responded that he always remembers that “you are only as good as your last effort.” Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, said it a little differently. Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” In other words, you are recognized by your product, so get in the habit of creating an excellent product. Strategic Management Consultant Rodger Dean places accountability in the context of a ladder. The people with a low level of accountability are on the lower half of the ladder, and top per- formers with high levels of accountabil- ity are at the top. The people who are unaware that personal accountability is a necessary part of success are at the very bottom of the ladder. The people on the lower half of the ladder play the blame game instead of addressing prob- lems and finding solutions. It’s where self-defeating attitudes live. They believe that outside circumstances are the only things that determine their success. The people on the top half of the ladder know how to manage themselves, which you must be able to do. They hold them- selves accountable for their work and their life. They go out of their way to take ownership of their problems and the difficult situations that they face. They don’t make a lot of excuses or try to push problems off on external forces. At the very top of the ladder are the people who “make it happen.” Their commitment can be described as relentless, not ruthless. However, sometimes the “make it hap- pen” people exhibit qualities of both relentlessness and ruthlessness. They are able to get results regardless of what they have to do. “The make it happen people are worth their weight in gold because they know that things happen because of them, not to them.” If you find yourself in a difficult situ- ation, ask yourself this question; “Did this happen to me or because of me?” Choose the latter because then you can decide to make something else happen instead. Sources: Acritical Factor for Success: Accountability – by Keith Lee How Accountability Leads to Success – by Jan L. Bowen No Excuses: Being Accountable for your own Success – by Linda Galindo “...you are only as good as your last effort.”