One of the reasons I write is for the accountability. I’m not claiming that I won’t change my mind. In fact quite the opposite, but I do my best to write what I believe is true, at the time I am writing it. For the most part, I think I do a good job – and while I am open to change, and accounting for more perspectives, at this point my core “truth” is pretty solid.
My friend Bryanda calls it speaking in drafts. I find this iterative approach – to life, relationships and work – works well. I write in drafts. I create in drafts. I live in drafts. I claim nothing other than that I am honestly doing my best, which is better some days than others.
Accountability also comes up in the literature on building trust. I have in the past struggled to tell people in positions of power that I do not trust them. If you’ve ever had to manage someone with low EQ and positional power – you know the feeling of walking on egg shells. Brene Brown has a wonderful check list for diagnosing trust breaches, that I find enormously helpful for articulating and communicating when there has been a breach of trust. B-R-A-V-I-N-G. It’s absolutely worth digging into, but I want to focus on,
A stands for Accountability
I worked for many years in companies where there was little accountability. Large companies, that were highly matrixed, and easy to hide in. The culture was often fragmented and success depended on having the support of “high status” folks – the money makers and those with the client relationships.
Some folks found that the most efficient thing to do, in order to maintain their relative position was to over-serve those they saw as high status, and bully, jerk-around, and generally mess with those that they saw no value in helping.
As a cooperator this was really hard for me to accept.
Game Theory teaches us that cooperators working in systems without accountability need to act like defectors or they will fail. Unless there is a way to hold defectors accountable from one transaction to another – there is no incentive for them to be nice. Simon Sinek’s book the Infinite Game goes into depth about how prioritizing trust creates results. Frankly I think is obvious and find it frustrating that we need to write books and build business cases for defectors in positions of leadership to “get it” and see this as evidence that American capitalism was built for sociopaths, defectors, and those lacking empathy .. but I digress the salient fact is…
Defectors gonna defect.
If we can’t change the game, or don’t want to, then we either suck it up or find a new game and quit. Which brings me to…
The 2020 Elections
I’m not going to lie. I’m disappointed at many of my fellow citizen’s unwillingness to hold our elected officials accountable to their word, to their responsibility, to the country, or to the needs of future generations. If we don’t hold our elected officials accountable on election day – and it is clear that many of them are defectors – then that is on us.
Unfortunately we can’t give up on our country, we can’t quit. The only remaining option is to do work.