Accountability is telling the truth when you do stupid stuff.

Right, Josh Shaw? If you live in a hole and don’t know the Josh Shaw story, here’s a recap: Josh, a promising young football player at USC, sprained both ankles. Badly. In doing so he claimed heroism in the form of saving his young cousin from drowning.

Yeah. It was a great tale.

Turns out that it was, er, a nationally-syndicated lie, and now poor Josh has been made the fool in front of the nation, and suspended from the football team. Goodbye senior year. Goodbye moments of greatness. Hello 4th round.

So…what was poor young Josh doing that deserved such a story? Who cares? The point is accountability. Be honest about your actions and deal with the results, whether you jumped off a balcony running from the cops or got a beat down from Bonzo the Birthday Clown. That’s not easy to do — no one does it all of the time. But if your intent is to stand up, account for yourself and your actions — you’re gonna be okay.

It seems like a vanishing trait. Blame it on our overly litigious society, where the truth takes a back seat to legal posturing. Or maybe it’s because there are now 8 types of accountability: moral, administrative, political, managerial, market, legal, constituency relation, and professional. There’s also leadership accountability, but that kind of seems like an oxymoron.

All of it seems to be a pile of crap. Fact is, there’s only one type of accountability — yours. Or mine. The kind people count on to know that they can trust your word. That’s it: Accountability is holding yourself to your actions and words, and is a good way to develop trust and build credibility — even when you do stupid stuff.


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