Our Guiding Principles at Work | We Are Accountable

The InVisionary

Our Guiding Principles at Work | We Are Accountable

Our Guiding Principles at Work | We Are Accountable
“To each other, to ourselves, to the people we support. We hold each other to the highest standards, set clear expectations, and work as a team to exceed them.”

When I was about 11, I was obsessed with the World Wrestling Federation. Every time it was on TV (we didn’t have streaming or on-demand back in the dark ages) I would watch Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, among others, throw each other around the ring with wild abandon and exhibit superhuman feats of athleticism. And I thought to myself, “I wanna do that!” So, I went to my father and said, “I want to be a wrestler.” Not having a clue that I was talking about what I saw on TV, he signed me up for wrestling. 

But it wasn’t Hulkamania, brother! It was something completely different. And I hated it. Wrestling goes by weight class, and I was tall for my age, so I was usually matched up with kids who were older, more experienced, and much, much stronger. Needless to say, I lost. A lot. Like every match. Those guys would toss me like a doll all over the mat and pin me. Easily. I’m pretty sure one of them had a moustache. I even cried one time after an incredibly quick exit because I had to sit through that tournament ALL DAY and just think. I was embarrassed. I thought my teammates hated me. I just wanted it to be over. 

On the drive home I said to my dad that I wanted to quit. “No,” he said. “You made a commitment to yourself and this team. You don’t have to do this again, but you will finish this season.” End. Of. Conversation. So that’s what I did. I never complained again. I went to every practice and every tournament, and I tried my best.
And that, my friends, was my first introduction to accountability. I didn’t know what the word accountability meant at the time, but it was something my parents always taught my brother and me – If you start something, you finish it. You do your best. You keep your word. They lived up to that and so should we.

And to me, that’s the essence of accountability. You take responsibility for your actions. You support and encourage those around you. Take ownership of the situations that you are a part of.

Accountability doesn’t just happen. You can’t just tell people they’re accountable. You need to model the behaviors you want to see in others. If you want people to take ownership, then you must be seen taking ownership. When you make commitments, you must follow through on them. If you don’t, why would anyone else be interested in doing so? When you have a clear understanding of what tasks, responsibilities, deliverables, and deadlines you must accomplish it is easier to take ownership of them. 

And we should expect our supervisors, managers, directors, and leadership to model those behaviors too. We should all provide the right guidance, set expectations, and ensure that our fellow team members have the tools, resources, and information to be successful. If you are working on a team, everyone must understand what they are to deliver as well as their deadlines. Make sure the whole team has accountability for the project so that if something breaks down or issues surface, everyone can quickly problem-solve together.

Finally, be honest. With yourself, your coworkers, and managers. Everyone really. When you tell the truth they will depend on you for opinions, advice, and feedback. They will know that you are someone who can be relied upon. Telling the truth can sometimes be a challenge – especially if things go wrong. But being accountable and taking responsibility shows integrity and humility (another one of our guiding principles). When people hide or ignore mistakes, or blame others for them, it does not make the issue go away. It usually makes it worse. 

So, the 1982 wrestling season was my last. And I never got to hoist the WWF Champion’s belt over my head. (Although I did get a plastic one at K-Mart and that felt pretty good). But I learned some things that I have carried through my entire life. Take ownership. Fulfill your commitments. Be honest. Do your very best. Learn and move forward. 

We are accountable.

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