Meet Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

This familiar old story makes the case for accountability patently clear. Accountability requires shared intention, responsibility, ownership, and commitment to action. Without these, it is easy to miss the mark and succumb to the “shoulda-coulda-woulda” phenomenon that leads to disastrous results.

Accountability is very serious business today. Board members exact added accountability. Funders and external stakeholders require more and more information. Association boards are looking internally and asking more of themselves and each other. Communication and education are central to accountability, but they only go so far when it comes to ensuring positive actions and results.

The current approach to accountability encompasses much more than the traditional approach of counting numbers. It now encompasses effort, energy, and efficiency; it has become the key driver for organizational learning, performance, design, and behavior. Everyone needs to embrace the same definition of accountability in order to assure results. This requires a broader organization-wide approach to accountability, because, unfortunately, that definition isn’t a pithy sentence for the minions to memorize. Rather it’s a dynamic and complex ideal that all must embrace.

Each organization will no doubt approach accountability differently, but as you frame the debate in your organization, here are seven key ingredients of any accountability definition. Read more…