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The Value of Personal Accountability

Alan Andersen

A number of our clients are experiencing renewed energy and unexpected team cohesion as we've been equipping them on the practice of personal accountability this year. This is music to our ears!

For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, we'll review why the Value of Personal Accountability is significant. For those of you familiar personal accountability from our Q2 post, this will be a helpful refresher. Let's begin with a question... 

Have you noticed that we live in a day and age where a low level of self-awareness is normal? You’ve probably heard employees say things like, “I can’t believe I didn’t get the promotion!” or “I had no idea that my communication style was irritating.” What is the cost of this detrimental disease?

 So what is the antidote to lost productivity? Personal Accountability

Can Be LearneD

The primary way to combat this shortfall is to adopt the practice of taking responsibility for our own situations, challenges, choices, emotions, and results.
Where personal accountability is lacking, it can be taught and learned. It’s not rocket science. It simply takes diligent training and commitment.
It all starts with asking “proactive questions.” Proactive questions are at the root of personal accountability. The Shandel Group specializes in this training. We can help you, your team, and your leadership grow into personally accountable people.

Undermining Confidence

So where do we start? Start by looking in the mirror! Personal accountability starts with “me.”
Think about it. Most people attempt problem-solving or troubleshooting by looking at everyone else first. They typically ask what Miller calls "incorrect questions" and we call "Reactive Questions".

Reactive Questions:

  • Why did they do … [fill in the blank]?

  • When is that team going to … [fill in the blank]?

  • Who missed their numbers this month?

These may seem straightforward enough. However, people who initiate questions like these are functionally isolating themselves from a sustainable solution. To illustrate this, let’s pull the thread on these types of questions, looking at the intended outcome and see just how these harmful reactive questions look when illuminated from this new vantage point.

“Illuminated” Reactive Questions:

  • I am the victim here — why did they do … [fill in the blank]?

  • I don’t want to procrastinate, but when is [fill in the blank]?

  • I will blame the real culprit — the one who missed their numbers!

Can you see how these types of questions undermine trust and instill a lack of confidence within your organization and people? 

Becoming the Change

Instead, we can learn to ask “proactive questions,” the antidote to a lack of trust — the accelerant for how to grow relational equity with your people and implement productive action.

Proactive Questions:

  • What can I do to help?

  • How can I best support … [fill in the blank]?

  • How can I help the team hit our numbers?

When we switch our focus to asking proactive questions, we begin eliminating bureaucracy and we lead by example — regardless if you’re the leader, manager, or an entry-level employee. You are a leader when you exemplify personal accountability.
You and I begin to be the change that we want to see in our company, not to mention overtime we will begin to save time and money and eliminate unhealthy stress by helping people to thrive.
The practice of asking proactive questions will empower you and your people to stop playing the unnecessarily common blame game. You’ll be equipped to work collaboratively and accomplish more together. Remember, it is a practice. We must commit to making proactive questions a habit.
Is it time to invite Shandel Group to help lay the groundwork for your team or organization to learn the value and practice of personal accountability?


Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen


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