Tuesday, November 03, 2009


"People aren't accountable enough for things..." is a phrase that I heard at work a few times over the past couple of years.  The phrase bothered me a lot.  I couldn't tell why, but it gave me one of those visceral "that doesn't make sense!" reactions.

Tonight, I finally figured it out.  You cannot independently and simply be accountable.  Rather, accountability is directed outwardly.  You are held accountable by someone else, by yourself, or by God.

Accountable and Responsible are sometimes used inter-changeably, but it seems to be there is a very important distinction.  When you are responsible for something, you simply and matter-of-factly are responsible for that thing.  By definition.  When you're accountable for something, it is because of an expectation or obligation that is a third-party to the relationship between you and the thing for which you are accountable.


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