Accountability is a Choice

Most of us don’t and it is common practice to use the words interchangeably. The reality is that, although related, responsibility and accountability are two separate things and the people and companies that discern the difference perform better, achieve more.

I admit that it took me a while to wrap my head around the nuances of accountability. I got tripped up associating accountability with things that are mine to do, to lead, to accomplish. In other words, my responsibility. Accountability is more than that. Here’s a simple example:

A child is being bullied at school. The person responsible for the act is the bully. The person accountable is the one who watched it happen.

Accountability is a choice. Culture Partners, experts in organizational development, change and culture management, defines accountability as “a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate ownership necessary for achieving desired results.” They go on to say, accountability means “you are making a choice to go beyond what you are responsible for, carrying with it an idea of ownership, involvement, and engagement.”

What does accountability look like to you? How do we practice accountability in our work at Cohere and in our interactions with others? Here are a few ideas shared by Culture Partners. Do you have some of your own? I would love to hear from you.

  1. Obtaining the perspective of others
  2. Communicating openly and candidly
  3. Asking for and offering feedback
  4. Hearing and saying the hard things to see reality
  5. Being personally invested
  6. Learning from both successes and failures
  7. Ensuring my work is aligned with Key Results
  8. Acting on the feedback I (we) receive
  9. Constantly asking “What else can I (we) do?”
  10. Collaborating across functional boundaries
  11. Creatively dealing with obstacles
  12. Taking the necessary risks
  13. Doing the things I (we) say I (we) will do
  14. Staying “Above The Line®” by not blaming others
  15. Tracking progress with proactive and transparent reporting
  16. Building an environment of trust


Thrive Together,