“Accountability is the ability to be counted on.”
“Accountability is the keystone on the bridge of trust.”
“If you are trying to get someone to be more accountable, start by getting them more passionate. If you aren’t accountable, you haven’t found enough reasons to be accountable.”
“Vision and Passion precede accountability.”
“If people don’t own it, they won’t do it.”
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” ~George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, philosopher, and co-founder of the London School of Economics
“It’s not greener on the other side of the fence. It’s greener where you water it. Now get busy and turn on the hose.”
“Where does change begin? It begins in this room. Why? Because this is the room you are in.” ~Peter Block
“How many of you have ever thought less of a person because they put up their hand and said, “I’m accountable for that?””
“If it is to be, let it begin with me.”
“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen and those who complain about what’s happening.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
Tag Archive for: accountability
I just got off the phone with my good friend and mentor, Don Campbell, from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Don and I first met when we were on the board of Holistic Management back in the late 1980′s. He remains a true inspiration to me.
Don is a guy who is at peace with himself. As a rancher, he’s had his share of setbacks and challenges, but his faith and strong character makes him a continual inspiration to everyone he meets. I received an email from Don this past week. Here’s something he said in the email:
…I have been counting the number of consecutive good days that I have had for a long time. Today I have had 24,275 consecutive good days. If you did the math you would realize I turned 66 in May. I plan to have a good day every day for as long as I live.
Don always asks me: “If you had all the time and money in the world what would you be doing?” And then he checks up on me to hold me accountable for being able to say, “I’d keep doing exactly what I’m doing today.” He always makes me think about how aligned my life is with what I espouse.
It’s good to have friends that inspire you and hold you accountable to live in accord with your values. I feel blessed.
I spent the past week with my amazing five-year-old grandson, Ethan. It was a week of “hanging out.” We spent time swimming, hiking, building puzzles and lego, relaxing at the zoo, chasing butterflies, reading stories, and, of course, napping.
Okay, I napped while he played. One morning we just laid on floor together and listened to a bird that sang in a way that captivated us both. One evening we sat and watched a caterpillar meander it’s way across the sidewalk for what seemed like hours. We bought a plastic paratrooper for a dollar and spent an evening throwing it up in the air and watching the parachute open. It was a wonderful holiday spent with a great kid. I came home refreshed, invigorated, and exhausted (it’s hard work playing with a five year old for a week!) Every time Ethan I spend time together my respect, admiration, and appreciation for stay-at-home parents increases.
And while my time with Ethan passed something else was going on. In order to be connected to Ethan, I was disconnected. No computers. No emails. No work. Just letting go and being present in the moment, allowing Ethan’s rhythm to become my rhythm. When I started to drift and become preoccupied with thoughts about work, Ethan would inevitably do something to bring my attention back to what was in front of us. Time seemed to “shift” as I became more present to each present and precious moment. It had nothing to do with “time management” or finding a better use of time. It was like having a whole new relationship with time, with Ethan, and with life. I had the experience of having, in the words of one of my great teachers, Winnie the Pooh, “…so much time… so little to do.”
How do you stay mindful? How do you stay present?
This past two days our sixteen-year-old daughter, Chandra, participated in her high school zone soccer tournament. The core of this team has been playing together for many years and demonstrated excellence and mastery, both in soccer and team skills. They won all four of their games over the weekend and outscored their opponents 25-2.Five minutes before the medal ceremony, where these talented young ladies were to receive their gold medal, we were informed that the host school pointed out a technicality in the fine print of the policy of the governing body over these games. Our school, unlike most who were participating in these games, is a grade nine to twelve school.
While the school had participated in this tournament for several years without incident, it was brought to our attention that the policy indicates that grade nine girls are not allowed in this tournament, and therefore our team would be disqualified. We all sat stunned and shocked, devastated, as three other teams were awarded the medals and the banner, while our girls watched angrily, quietly, and gracefully from the sidelines.
While too devastated and angry to process the experience on the ride home, I hope to discuss the experience sometime over the coming days with Chandra. There are lessons to be learned from every experience -even negative ones. Many of them contribute to building strong character. Here are three that come to mind from this one:
- Injustice is a part of life. It’s a very difficult pill to swallow, but it seems to come with the experience of being human. All devastating and painful experiences present a learning opportunity. As you come to accept injustice, unhappiness, and difficulties as a part of life, life isn’t quite so difficult.
- How you deal with injustice and frustration is a test of your character. The real winners – on the field and in life – are those who take the higher road of character and class. True excellence and distinction are qualities that the world doesn’t always understand or reward. Unselfish teamwork, respect, pride, years of hard work and skill development, and learning to maintain grace and integrity under pressure, can never be taken from the hearts and souls of these girls. This is the ultimate goal of sport and life. My mother used to say that maturity is the ability to bear an injustice without wanting to get even. It’s about character.
- It’s important to maintain perspective. The girls were devastated. No question. There were tears and hearts broken. There was anger and there was bitterness. There was also the pain that comes at the end of every season, knowing that a champion team can never be constructed again in exactly the same way. These young ladies needed our support and the support of each other over the next few days in order to let go of the resentment and the loss.
But in the light of time’s perspective, the deceptive prominence of these emotions will fade as perspective and wisdom emerge. The girls will continue to play. No one lost their life this weekend. “Devastation” is relative. While seemingly significant now, the emotions will pass. The life-long friendships and the lasting memories and lessons are what matter.
This beautiful little blog from a public service team leader, a participant in one of my workshops, inspired me so much that I thought I’d pass it along.
Breathing New Life Into The Public Service: It Starts With You. That’s the title of the conference I recently attended. Best-selling author, David Irvine was the speaker for the day. He speaks about leadership, organizational culture, accountability and well, life. He inspires me and challenges me almost as powerfully as my faith. I heart David Irvine.
Now, about breathing new life into the Public Service and about how it starts with me. Sigh. I was thinking about passing on what I learned from the conference about organizational culture and how it’s up to me to make it a great one. I could also talk about accountability and how it’s about people being able to count on me. Or about leadership and how I can’t be promoted to be a leader,
I have to earn it.
There’s so much I learned that day and I’m so pumped about it that I want to just blog about it all.
In my eight pages of notes from the session about culture, leadership, accountability and authenticity, there is one thing that I have learned. It’s so simple and so seemingly easy that you might fall off your chair when I tell you. Either that or tilt your head and go, “Really?” Yes. Really.
So here it is. Friends, I’ve simply learned to PAUSE.
In the everyday challenges of work and life, I have learned to pause.
On my way to work, someone cuts me off. Pause.
Someone complains my ear off about something they don’t plan to change. Pause.
I get back my 360 degree feedback. Pause.
I present something I’m passionate about and someone rolls their eyes. Pause.
Pause. Pause. Pause!
It’s fascinating what we can do within an itty-bitty pause.
Within that pause I can choose to embrace full rage and let it ruin my whole day, or shrug it off and let it go.
Within that pause I can choose to participate in boy bashing, work bashing and boss bashing, or exercise my right to excuse myself from a potentially toxic conversation that helps no one.
Within that pause I can choose to find out who gave me a 3.5 (out of 5) score on leadership abilities and hurt them very badly, or humble myself and accept the fact that I’m not perfect and I have oh so many “areas of improvement.”
Within that pause I can choose to let that eye-rolling dude break me down or use him as a stepping stone to break through my insecurities.
Within that pause I can choose to complain or do what I can to help fix the system.
That little pause breathes new life into my reactions. And when I breathe new life into my reactions, I breathe new life into my work… and breathe new life into my team… new life into my department… and yes, breathe new life into the Public Service.”
“We never know what’s wrong without the pain. Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”
Isaac Edward Slade, from The Fray.
I heard a very interesting story a while ago, told by Gary Kuzyk, Director of Labor Relations with the City of Hamilton. It so happens that when he started his first job as a young eager lawyer, with a significant student debt, he had dutifully arranged for the student loan repayments to be debited from his bank account. When he observed, however, that the first three payments had not been withdrawn, he called the loan office. After making him wait an interminable length of time on the phone, the clerk came back on the line and sternly announced that his file had been sent to storage and his loan was shown as having been paid in full. She seemed annoyed that he would have put her to the trouble of having to verify something that he must already have known.
Gary then described his reaction in this moment as envisioning himself as the classic cartoon character with an angel on the one shoulder and a devil on the other, each advocating opposite responses. He listened to the angel, and told the clerk that there must have been a mistake, that his loan was indeed not paid. She only grudgingly agreed to pull the file from storage. The bank eventually fixed the mistake, and it took him four years to pay off the loan.
I’ve told this story in a variety of settings since I first heard it. There is always at least one person in every group who tells me that Gary should have thanked the clerk, quickly got off the phone, and been grateful for his good fortune. Gary actually goes on to say that he was indeed grateful for his good fortune – because of the incident, not because of its outcome. Paying that debt may well have been the best investment Gary ever made, because it was an investment not in his chequing account, but in his character account.
In our society is a great vault filled with an inheritance left by those before us – many who died for our freedom. That vault is the bank of opportunity. The men and women who have paved the way to our freedom have given us a promissory note. But without character, we cannot access the account, and the cheque we expect from society will eventually come back marked “insufficient funds” because there is nothing to draw from within ourselves.
Regardless of our economic status, at the end of the day we all must look at ourselves in the mirror. What we see is the result of the decisions we have made. Character – the courage and capacity to meet the demands of reality – is required to make a withdrawal from the account of opportunity. Without personal character, we become spiritually and psychologically bankrupt, unable to access the resources required to meet the demands of existence.
What is your experience of investing in your character? What are the results?