Accountability and Offering Excuses for Excuses: Swimming Upstream#3
Most of our problems in life tend to come about as a result of trying to evade being accountable. It appears like a disease in the government, the private sector and in our personal lives. It’s just not an easy thing for some of us to accept accountability.
Accountability means we are responsible and answerable for our actions or inactions, thus the consequences must be accepted. Managers and leaders must accept accountability for the actions of others in their organization or on their team, just as they accept praise when the team does well. In order to be accountable, we must also embrace the fundamental principle of integrity.
It’s not always easy to do the right things, but we can save ourselves a whole lot of time and trouble if we invest a little more time to do things right the first time. In communications with the late Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson, he always reminded me to “Do what I think I have to do and what is always right.” It’s also much more difficult to clean up a mess than to just simply avoid it.
Personal strength is based on your character. Our character is inherently a by-product of our integrity and our sense of personal accountability as well as our socialization. When you use excuses to avoid being accountable, you are actually trying to justify failure. Excuses do not change the results, they only band aid the cancer while gangrene sets in. You either achieved your desired results or you didn’t! In business, it’s the same thing. We all have personal problems, but in the end your choice is either to achieve your desired outcome no matter what or find ways to work through it. Is a lack of accountability the cause of excuses, mediocrity and complacency?
Most excuses proffered by people are indifferent rebuttals, caused by clumsiness, incompetence, tactlessness, thoughtlessness and laziness. We must always remember that few excuses get us out of trouble. The average excuse gets us only out of the fire but into the frying pan. Unless people are held accountable, we will continue to see more excuses and mediocre governance in the private and public sectors as well as our personal lives. We just need to stop offering excuses for excuses, Finally, I wish to leave you with some quotes on excuses.
- “Excuses are the tools with which persons with no purpose in view build for themselves great monuments of nothing.”
- “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.
I don’t believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
George Bernard Shaw