Saturday, November 21, 2015

Accountability and Motivation

Accountability is a difficult concept for many to accept.  The willingness to give to another the ability to call us to account is never easy.  But accountability is not limited to giving another individual the ability to keep us on task.  Accountability can be provided by a supportive group or even to ourselves.  Accountability and the motivation to achieve a goal go hand in hand.

In a recent blog, David Maxfield points out the sources of influence that drive individuals to do the things they do.  Based on ideas in Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, these are:   Personal Motivation, Personal Ability, Social Motivation, Social Ability, Structural Motivation, and Structural Ability.  Each influencer points out appropriate means of accountability—both individual and corporately.

First, Personal Motivation— Are you ready to do this?  How does this task or goal tie into your long-term vision for yourself?  Your values?  When we make the task part of the bigger picture of our lives, the undesirable may become more desirable.

Second, Personal Ability—What are the personal skills available to you to accomplish this?  Using our skills and abilities to accomplish a task or achieve a goal gives us both personal satisfaction and challenges us to surpass our previous limits.  

Third, Social Motivation—Who can help you achieve this?  How does working toward this goal impact your relationships?  Perhaps it will strengthen them.  This is a great way to harness peer pressure to increase individual motivation.

Fourth, Social Ability—Who can come alongside to help you?  We usually find strength in numbers especially when we partner with someone with a similar or complementary goal.

Fifth, Structural Motivation— Does my environment encourage the behavior necessary to do this?  How can I arrange to keep track of my progress?  There is a saying that goes, “If it gets measured, it gets done.”  By tracking our progress and designing rewards or celebrations, we can develop our own accountability structures. 

Six, Structural Ability—How can my environment support my completion of the task?  In coaching clients, I often remind them that when they say “No” to one thing, they are saying “Yes” to something else.  Giving up one thing may free us up to accomplish something more important.

True growth and personal development only takes place in structures of accountability.  We can develop those ourselves.

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