A while back I had the honor of being the emcee of a two-day team-building program featuring two NFL legends, one of which was Joe Gibbs, former head coach of the Washington Redskins. In interviewing Coach Gibbs, I asked him if past behavior was a predictor of future behavior. His answer was a resounding yes!
When I was in college, if a student was caught in the dining hall during a semester that he wasn’t on the dining plan, the student was fined for all the previous days of that semester. The fine was based on the assumption that if you are stealing today, you most likely did the same yesterday and the day before, and so on.
When CEOs bring me in to their organizations to help build high-performance sales cultures, they often ask me to help employees be more accountable to their companies. I always explain that is not possible because there is no such thing as accountability to an organization. It all starts with personal accountability to one’s promised actions. If you have a culture in which everyone is holding themselves accountable to their promises, goals, and deadlines, then the organization wins because the sum total of all personal accountability results in organizational accountability.
Trust and accountability go hand in hand.
Let’s face it, if you are not coming through on promises you made to yourself, what is the likelihood you will come through on promises to others? And if you promised results or actions to your customers and do not come through ON TIME, what is the likelihood they will trust you in the future?
Trust starts and ends with personal accountability, and it works like a self-fulfilling feedback loop. Neuroscience has shown that the brain releases endorphins when we cross off items on our to-do lists. Keeping promises (to yourself and to others) is fulfilling! On the other hand, when you don’t follow through on your promises, it causes stress for you (internal agonizing over what you haven’t done), and it creates stress for others. Of course, it also causes others to doubt your word.
Trust is a critical factor in being able to Impact! your markets, customers, and employees. It all starts with holding yourself accountable to the promises you make to yourself and to everyone else in your life—professionally and personally. Are you keeping your word in all facets of your life? If not, you are limiting your ability to Impact! the world.
It’s a surprisingly easy thing to fix, but it demands awareness. The next time you catch yourself falling short of a promise to yourself or others, simply recognize what you’re doing, fulfill the promise, and be on the lookout for the next situation.
Holding yourself accountable to keeping your word will enable you to successfully Impact! everyone in your world.