The Curious Leader
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The Curious Leader

What Does It Really Mean to Be Accountable?

Consider this. If you want to be a painter and hold a paintbrush in your hand, are you willing to be made accountable to learn how to paint? And if you are a painter who does not have a paintbrush, would you say it’s your responsibility to get the right tools to fill your canvas?

A hallmark of real accountability is the manner we pursue a legacy.

We get to choose what we paint on the canvas of our lives. And we are responsible for acquiring the tools we need. The quality of the painting (our legacy) is up to us.

Let me give you an example.

Ian Bick was eighteen-years-old when he scammed investors of nearly $500,000. He tricked them by promising huge profits where there were none. Like a Ponzi scheme, the young man robbed Peter to pay Paul. From his perspective, he was moving money around. The Feds were not happy with his methods and charged him with fraud. In his defence, Ian said, “I looked at it as taking one loan to pay off another loan.” What does it really mean to be accountable? Is being eighteen a genuine excuse?

Ian Bick was holding the paintbrush of entrepreneurship, but he was a minor when the Feds charged him with fraud. Would you say he was accountable for allegedly not knowing how to tell the truth? And if you do believe he knew what he was doing, what about his omissions? How do you feel about that?

#1 Real accountability takes in the details and the big picture.

Life is relationships. Each relationship is a brushstroke on the canvas of our lives. We can’t ignore the details, and we can’t turn a blind eye to the big picture. For example, if we don’t like Linda for being mean, we remain 100% accountable for the place she occupies — near or far — in our lives.

It is our choice. We can strictly focus on the details and miss the big picture. Or we can take ownership of the canvas and paint empowering experiences. In relationships, there’s a difference between “I’ll love you if or when” (a focus on the details) and “I am being loving” (a focus on the big picture).

When it comes to Ian Bick, what place does he have on your canvas? Is he a detail to quickly brush over? Or is he part of something bigger?

#2 Real accountability acquires the right tools.

Many of us avoid being held accountable by saying we did not know. Let me be bold. It is not enough to say that we did not know. We are all responsible for examining our lives and getting the tools we need to feel empowered.

While waiting for sentencing, Ian Bick made six trips to a New York casino. His bail conditions stated that he stayed in Connecticut. The judge did not buy it when the young man claimed to have no idea of the terms. He revoked Ian’s bail and said, “Mr. Bick. The party is over.”

Indeed, we cannot change the big picture if we do not have the tools. And we cannot paint details with a broad brush and then complain because we do not like the result. Ian ignored the fine print and dismissed its impact. As a result, he found himself in a bind. So if you do not like your results, be willing to be accountable for getting better tools.

#3 Real accountability seeks to be empowered.

What makes us great is not our mistakes or our strokes of genius. It’s being willing to be held accountable for something greater than ourselves. Ian Bick thought he was good at scamming investors. But he ended up in jail. You might want to take note of his brushstroke and examine where you might have jailed yourself for ignoring the details or turning a blind eye to the big picture. Real accountability has no room for “it’s not your fault.”

Anne Beaulieu, inspiring the next generation of emotionally intelligent and strategic women through:

  • Financial Emotional Intelligence
  • Strategic Planning and Implementation
  • Chartered Financial Analysis
  • Finance Economics
  • Forbes and The Curious Leader value contributions




What could it mean to you, your organization or your family business to step up into the highest form of leadership; becoming a Dragon Leader? Dragon Leaders Transform “Meaning Into Practical Action”

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Anne Beaulieu

Anne Beaulieu

Strategic Financial Emotional Intelligence Coach

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