The secret to High-performing teams, those that achieve amazing results, and that sustain the top performance levels over the long term is ownership.

These teams take control of their situation and take pride in their work, becoming empowered, which helps them to achieve great results through increased levels of collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork.

They have a strong bond of trust with each other, knowing that they are all committed to giving 100% and that they will do what is necessary to succeed.

To create such ownership in your teams and your organizations, you need to create a culture of accountability, weaving it into the DNA of your organization.

Here are ten of my favorite quotes on accountability to help you better understand what is needed to help create such a culture.

"Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility before they place blame." ― Courtney Lynch

This quote confirms that accountability starts at the top. If you want your teams to be accountable, then you need to be accountable. You need to see your part in failure, not just look to apportion blame. When you blame, you don't just limit accountability you actually kill it.

"Accountability breeds response-ability." ― Stephen R. Covey

What I love about this quote is its simplicity. When you take accountability, it gives you the power to be able to respond to a situation, to have an impact on the outcome and to be able to drive the desired results, which is the essence of accountability.

"It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable." ― Moliere

Accountability is not a one-time thing, it's something that we need to do all the time, and in every aspect, if we want to really build a strong culture. It means we need to be inclusive and consistent in our approach, holding everyone accountable for everything. If you let some things slide, then you start to let everything slide.

"Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses." -- George Washington Carver

You can always find an excuse for why something didn't go your way, but people who succeed search for solutions, not excuses. Once you start down the path of looking for excuses you have effectively given up, you have quit, and have relinquished all accountability for the outcome.

"Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have." ― Pat Summitt

When teams take ownership, as soon as things go wrong they go into solution mode, they take it upon themselves to find a way to turn things around. They don't wait for others to solve their problems, they become proactive, show initiative and are self-sufficient. They won't always find a solution, but they will, more often than not, which will help drive up their success rates.

"The price of greatness is responsibility." -- Winston Churchill

If you want to achieve success then you have to take accountability, otherwise, you are just a spectator or a passenger, and you will never receive credit for the results of others. It takes courage to accept accountability because with the chance of success and glory, also comes the risk of failure. But no risk, no reward.

"On good teams, coaches hold players accountable, on great teams players hold players accountable." ― Joe Dumars

The beauty of accountability is that the leader only needs to start the ball rolling. Once you start to show accountability and make accountability a part of your actions, once it starts to take a hold in your organization, then others will come to your aid. Your teams will start to hold each other accountable, and it will even happen in your absence. To do this you have to create a safe environment, one where people will challenge each other, but do so in a supportive manner, looking at collaborating and cooperating if it's needed to achieve success.

"Anyone can possess, anyone can profess, but it is an altogether different thing to confess." ― Shannon L. Alder

Accountability isn't just about taking ownership, and meeting commitments; it's also about accepting responsibility when things go wrong, taking the blame and admitting your part in the failure.



"Open collaboration encourages greater accountability, which in turn fosters trust." ― Ron Garan

Collaboration, accountability, and trust are three of the key components within a culture of accountability. As you to start to increase one of these areas, it will help lead to increases in another, such that it becomes self-fueling cycle which helps to build the culture more quickly.

"Never promise more than you can perform." ― Publilius Syrus

While I love accountability and think that it is a major driver in organizational success, you must be sure that you don't over commit and take accountability to deliver more than you're capable. People are not afraid of hard work they afraid of failure, and if you aim too high they will either rescind their accountability, or they will end up failing, both of which can negatively impact accountability levels. As you start to build accountability, it is shared success which will help sustain it.

Creating a culture of accountability and ownership will help any business achieve great results, and the more you understand about accountability how it works, what impacts it, both positively and negatively, the easier it will become to implement.

Published on: Sep 29, 2017
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