Goal setting is an important component in the process of personal growth and development. Establishing clear and specific action steps for each goal is also a component. When you add the often-overlooked element of accountability to establishing goals and action steps, the possibility that meaningful goals can be achieved increase exponentially. Accountability is essential to the process, but it is something with which most of us are uncomfortable. We are often more comfortable having others tell us what they think we want to hear, rather than telling the truth. This does not lead to change or growth. It leads to stagnation, ineffectiveness and complacency. What if we embraced accountability? It is not a farfetched notion. Many great leaders and performers have done just that.

Think of one of your sports heroes, a media star or leader in any field. What sets them apart from the average person? I would argue that they have a strong vision of their desired future, and they set meaningful goals. They also have a coach, mentor or trusted partner, who assumes responsibility for holding them accountable for practicing and taking the necessary steps to improve. When small measures of success are experienced, one is inspired to stay true to the process and continue to move forward. When there is a setback, the coach or trusted partner provides the appropriate feedback or reinforcement.

Developing an appreciation for accountability is something that is possible for all of us. However, it will not happen overnight. In order for it to occur, we must be willing to be held accountable, and we must also remain committed until measures of success are experienced.

What step do you need to take today to begin the process of embracing accountability? It could be as simple as working with a coach, mentor or trusted partner and giving them permission to hold you accountable. It could also be authentically connecting with direct reports or others and working to create an environment where they feel comfortable being honest and providing feedback. I encourage you to begin the process today by taking a first step. Growing to embrace accountability is possible, and it could lead to high levels of success and fulfillment for you and those with whom you collaborate.