There is a disturbing and (unfortunately) growing trend to embrace deceit, distort truth and avoid accountability. Make no mistake that this trend will die and those that go down this dark path will forever regret it. In many ways it does remind me of the dark side in Star Wars. There are often ways to trick and scheme your way to gain some level of success, but it is never sustainable. Sure, some people may even get really lucky and manage to skate on a razors edge all the way to the top. But…it won’t last.

The reason is quite simple. Accountability (or the lack thereof) is infectious.

For example, let’s say you work at a company where everyone is really good about getting their work done on time but then a new person joins who ignores deadlines and never works hard. That person may be a junior employee, but if the organization allows him or her to continue for some time, other people in the organization will inevitable start slacking as well.

“Eh, I don’t have to get this done by tomorrow. Bob is always a week late with his stuff and no one seems to care.”

And that is just for an entry level employee. Obviously the situation would be much worse if the leaders in the organization did not hold themselves accountable.

But…it happens. Too often, unfortunately. And once it starts, it can become a cancer that spreads quickly and could eventually destroy the organization.

That is why it is extremely important to do the following:

  1. Heavily promote and encourage accountability throughout your organization. In particular, ensure all leaders are shining examples for everyone else.
  2. Set up a system that creates transparency so there is no question about what actually happened.
  3. When someone makes a mistake (as is normal), ensure that they have a chance to hold themselves accountable and take the appropriate actions.
  4. If someone doesn’t take the appropriate actions after a mistake, ensure that they have the right coaching structure so that team members can help hold each other accountable.
  5. If someone proves after some time that they are unwilling or unable to be accountable, then it is time to part ways since they clearly do not belong.

Yes, this is hard and it takes work. But a focus on accountability is how an organization continues to grow and thrive.

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