Look up the word “accountability” in a Thesaurus—very instructive. I often look up words that interest me to see what thought threads exist in their various meanings. Finding a word’s opposite meaning is also amazingly instructive. It often gives you a completely different take on how to use the word in question and sheds light on the power inherent in its meaning. If you look up “accountability” you will find on the one hand words like “task” and “duty”—duty being a much more evocative thought. You also will find words like “trustworthy” and “conscientious”—again words that begin to describe a bigger commitment than mere responsibility.
However, (here is where it really gets instructive) words like “blame” and “liability” show up. What does that tell you?
Think about how quickly accountability, or lack of it, leads to blame and finger pointing. You know what I mean. Think about how liability and its relationship to accountability and raising your hand are connected.
Finally think about this thought:
“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”
The bottom line is if it’s on our watch, we’re accountable. If it’s our business we are accountable. Blame (another subject for another day)—at the worst, accountability at the best—follows us like a blood hound no matter what. Hence, we might as well put our hands up; grab the horns of whatever it is and give it our best and most important shot.
A final thought: keep following the word thread. “Danger,” “burden” and “jinx” are on the journey. Think on it. Maybe that is what we become if we don’t step up to our accountabilities….
What do you think?