Who’s accountable for personal improvement?

Sounds like a dumb question, doesn’t it? Of course, it is the individual who is responsible and accountable for improving their skills. But I’ve found it is not often seen that way.

Recently, a corporate group I’ve been telecoaching has not been showing up for their monthly calls. There have been reasons, some valid, some not. One month they had a pressing business issue to attend to. Fine, so I suggested they give me some options for rescheduling. I didn’t hear back. This month the excuse was they forgot to put it on the group calendar. Again, I told them to give me some new times/dates, and nothing.

So I began to wonder, are they not getting value from our time? When we’re on the call, they seem engaged and highly participatory. They say they’re getting value. So what else might it be?

Accountability. Or lack there of.

It is easy to get inundated with one’s everyday work so that you don’t take the time to sharpen your ax. Even with pressing issues bearing down on you that you could use some input on, other deadlines take priority. So any “ax sharpening” activity, be it a coaching session or training, takes the back burner.

I called the Vice President who sponsored this coaching program to discuss the situation. He agreed with my assessment. He was going to make them accountable to their manager to report what we discussed each month and how they were going to implement it. If someone didn’t show up for the call, they needed to get permission from their manager ahead of time and notify me.

So who is accountable for the implementation of new skills at your organization? If there is no accountability, I guarantee it will keep getting put off.
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2 Comments on “Who’s accountable for personal improvement?”


  1. Rebecca,

    You are so right on both counts.

    We all need to take time away from the day to day tasks of our jobs to “sharpen our ax” or look at the bigger picture. It’s the only way to grow.

    Although it often seems difficult to do so, I’m always glad when I carve out the time to educate myself, think about my business, re-evaluate and do some “Big Picture Dreaming.”

    It’s also very important that managers hold their team members accountable for meeting the expectations that have been set for them. I’ve learned the hard way to make this VERY clear before I take on a consulting assignment.

    It’s frustrating to me to work with an organizational leader who seems excited about the plans we make together. However, when they fail to hold people accountable for making the changes, progress is extremely slow. Not only does this waste their time and money, but it’s not as fun for the consultant either.

    Now I make it very clear that I will only take a project on if everyone is held accountable for carrying out the plans that we make together. Then, everyone wins!


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