Now, It’s Time to Own It!

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Mar 24, 2011

By now, you have successfully taken the See It step by acknowledging where you are Below The Line and the price you are paying for being there. Counting the cost of a lack of personal accountability around a particular issue can be a sobering experience. Usually, it includes not only a lack of progress and results, and all the good things that come with succeeding, but also involves a healthy dose of frustration and stress that usually everyone around you gets to experience at some time or another and in some way or another.

Indeed, the price tag on spending time Below The Line can be steep. Perhaps you took the challenge in the last blog to ask three people, Where am I Below the Line? That information should make for a compelling argument for doing something about it. Once you’ve taken the See It Step and begin to acknowledge reality, you can then take the Own It step—a step that you cannot skip if you want to tap the full power of personal accountability.

To Own It means to make the tie between where you are at (the results you are getting, or not getting on an issue) with what you have done and where you want to be (the results you want to get) with what you will do. That tie is all important and all empowering. Once we connect the dots between our results and our actions, we place ourselves in a position to then change our actions and, thus, our results.

We write in our book, How Did That Happen? Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive, Principled Way, that “what you create accountability for is what you get; and what you get is what you created accountability for.” That is not only true for holding others accountable, but it is resoundingly true when it comes to holding ourselves accountable. What we hold ourselves accountable for is what we get. Or, in other words, what we take ownership for is what we get.

The Own It step is a critical step, but it can also be a difficult one. Making the tie between our own actions and the results we are getting, particularly when those results are not what we want, can take some real heart. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you make the tie:

1. What am I pretending not to know about the impact of my role in the outcomes I am getting?
2. What are the extra steps that I would take next time when faced with similar circumstances?
3. What advice would I give someone else about how to move forward when faced with the same set of conditions?

Taking ownership for the results you want to get by making a complete, full and personal commitment to achieving them is an investment in the Own It step that will pay huge dividends. This week, try sitting down with someone you trust and discuss your ownership for the issue that you have identified as a Below The Line issue. That conversation will help you Own It.

Next week we take the Solve It step as we move Above The Line and take greater accountability to get the results we want. To learn more about what people may think, consider using the complimentary assessments on our website at for either yourself or your team.

Above The Line, Below The Line, Steps to Accountability, See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It are trademarks of Partners In Leadership.