8 Truths of Accountability

Since this post was first published, due to”popular demand,” we turned it into a wall poster for your organization!

I’ve been speaking on or writing about personal accountability since 1995—and I’ve come to believe there are eight truths that do exist, but are often rejected:

1. Everybody wants everybody else to practice personal accountability. Enough said.

2. Individuals make exceptions for themselves when it comes to the principles of accountability and responsibility:

Example: If I earned an annual income of, say, $65,000 back when the real estate market was peaking and I bought a half million dollar home—then lost that home to the bank—my claim would be it was due to “predatory lending.” But if my neighbor flew to Vegas, gambled away his entire net worth and came back broke, he’d be judged with, “Wow, that was really stupid! What a foolish thing for him to do.”

Sometimes we need to say that to ourselves, and then ask The Question Behind the Question (QBQ), “What can I learn from this experience?”

3. I am more effective in all roles—spouse, father, mother, professional, friend, volunteer—when I practice personal accountability.

4. Personal accountability is a “me” thing, not a team thing. But when I practice it, the team can do great things.

5. Personal accountability begins at home with excellent parenting. Not with the schools, the church, or the government. At home.

6. Life is more enjoyable—downright more fun—and I can be so much more when I walk the High Road of Personal Accountability.

7. It’s simply the “right thing to do.” The wrong things to do are blame, whine, point fingers, play victim, be entitled—and expect others to bail me out of my bad choices.

8. Personal accountability is absolutely trainable. That is, it can be learned.

If you don’t agree with these eight thoughts, that’s just fine—but this is how we at QBQ, Inc. see it.

For comment below:

Which one of the “Eight Truths” challenge you the most? What other truths of accountability are there?

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6 Responses

  1. Your last sentence could have easily have been the 8th truth, John.

    Personal accountability means that I take responsibility for what I say and don’t need your approval.

  2. John, I was challenged by truth number three. Especially in the role of a dad as my kids were raised on the QBQ principles. I really enjoyed a conversation I had with my 21 year old son a few months ago. In a weak moment, I was making an excuse for something I didn’t do. I had to laugh out loud when he stopped me dead in my tracks to tell me…”DAD, QBQ! Of course I wasn’t proud to have been caught, but at the same time, I was delighted to see that my next generation had gotten it.

    Thanks John, Keep up the great work of not only helping change the workplace, but also our family trees. 🙂

  3. I love this!!! I too get called onto the carpet by my 17 year old twins when I am hypocritical. Love these!

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