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5 Best Books on Accountability: Individual & Organizational

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Personal accountability is an essential building block of success. When we take responsibility for our actions and words, both the good and the bad, we can learn, grow, and build satisfying relationships with others. Without it, we point fingers and blame others for things that we should have done differently. And you can’t learn from mistakes you won’t admit to making. 

Accountability can improve every aspect of our work and personal lives, but it can be a difficult and uncomfortable practice to put into place. These five books outline practical steps and proven methods for achieving success through personal and organizational accountability.

Related: 8 Personal Accountability Habits of a Great Leader

Best Books on Accountability

Creating the Accountable Organization

Creating the Accountable Organization: A Practical Guide to Improve Performance Execution is one of Mark Samuel’s older books but it’s still as relevant as ever. The title is bold but accurate to the content and also to what the reader will receive from reading the book. Not only is the book paradigm-shifting from how organizations deal with accountability today, but it provides real examples as well as practical, step-by-step actions that any leader or team can take to become more accountable.

What I love about this book is that it is both practical and direct while also being an example of how we can infuse more loving consciousness, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness into business. Mark reframes accountability from a punitive, reactionary concept to one of creating support and safety for team members—inviting more risk-taking, creativity, and flexibility in organizations which inevitably leads to progress and productivity.

This book is a fantastic read for anyone interested in creating more accountability within an organization or on any team.

Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture

In Accountability, Greg Bustin helps leaders find their “sweet spot”—the point where their core values intersect with their experience and interests. Finding your sweet spot, Bustin believes, is the key to driving personal accountability. Through learning more about it, leaders become accountable for the work they perform and better able to help their employees and organization grow and improve.

Bustin also demonstrates how leaders and workers alike can use his seven pillars of accountability to transform their lives and reach their true potential. He even has a catchy acronym to help readers remember the seven pillars, CULTURE, an additional reminder to leaders that an organization’s culture significantly impacts workers’ performance. The book offers practical steps to help leaders find their sweet spot, cultivate accountability, and create a high-performance culture for their organization.

Personal Accountability: Powerful and Practical Ideas for You and Your Organization

In Personal AccountabilityJohn Miller gives readers practical methods for eradicating unhealthy patterns from their organizations and personal lives. He teaches readers how to stop indulging in blame, procrastination, and victim thinking and how to ask “the questions behind the question.” By doing so, they put themselves on the path of personal accountability—a road that leads to higher levels of performance and leadership. Readers walk away from this book with practical ideas they can easily apply to their daily lives.

Related: Four Leadership Traps That Prevent Accountability

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How Did That Happen?: Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive, Principled Way

In both our personal and professional lives, we often get blindsided by failures and crises that leave us wondering, how did that happen? Lack of accountability is the root cause of so many of these unexpected catastrophes. How Did That Happen offers its readers a proven system for eliminating these failures and enhancing performance by holding people accountable in a positive, principled way.

The book’s authors, Roger Connors and Tom Smith are experts on workplace accountability. For decades, their method has helped high-profile companies achieve greater success through accountability, proving time and again that organizational accountability makes companies more functional and profitable. Rogers and Smith outline the same accountability sequence used by these companies in How Did That Happen, making this book a stellar resource for leaders ready to take responsibility for their organization’s success.

Making Accountable Decisions: A Journey to an Accountable Life

We make hundreds of decisions each, from mundane to life-changing. In Making Accountable DecisionsSam Silverstein focuses on the decisions that impact our lives the most, challenging his readers to deeply reflect on their actions and make decisions in a way that adds value and meaning to their lives and the lives of those around them. 

Silverstein founded The Accountability Movement. Through it, he coaches people, companies, and government agencies on how to live accountable lives and cultivate accountable business cultures. His book can help anyone who wants to make decisions that will transform their lives and their organization.

Related: 11 Benefits of an Accountability Coach

Best Books on Accountability Final Thoughts

Practicing accountability can be uncomfortable. We have to admit to and own our faults and failings and how our actions impact others. And while it’s not an easy habit to practice, it’s essential to both our personal and professional success. As these books show, people and organizations that practice accountability are more likely to complete big goals and achieve better results. And by following the practical steps and methods they outline, you can affect the same positive changes in your life, both at work and home.

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