Uncommon Accountability

A Radical New Approach To Greater Success And Fulfillment

From New York Times Bestselling Authors, Brian Moran and Michael Lennington

discover A new and more effective way to hold yourself and others to account without guilt, drama, or punishment

It’s true…

There’s a new (and more effective) way to hold yourself and others to account without guilt, drama, or punishment.

It’s called Uncommon Accountability.

And it’s very different from the common methods you’re likely familiar with because of how it significantly increases the probability you will follow through on your commitments (to yourself and others), by replacing negative consequences for poor performance, with choice.

And as you’ll see, this approach is easy to learn and can be leveraged right away. The results are immediate.

The best part of all...

Best part of all, it doesn’t require you to be a “bad guy”, scheming and dealing out punishment to others, and It doesn’t require that you beat yourself up for coming up short. With this new approach to accountability, any gilt or shame that typically comes from holding yourself or others to higher standards is eliminated.

Now, seeing your projects through to completion will become the new normal, regardless of whether you’ve struggled (and possibly failed) with accountability in the past, lack self-confidence or self-esteem, or you simply prefer to avoid confrontation.

This radical new approach to success is going to flip your understanding (and experience) of accountability on it's head.

holding ourselves and others to account is critical

The Challenge is with how we've been taught to do that

Holding others accountable, or having others hold us accountable, sounds responsible, doesn’t it?

But the reality is, accountability, in the traditional sense, is extremely unpleasant and dirty business.

That’s because our current understanding of accountability relies heavily on negative consequences. For this model to work effectively, there must exist a negative consequence so detestable, that we choose productive behavior over unproductive behavior.

So, when faced with either accepting a negative consequence or taking a positive action, we take the positive action

Just in case it needs to be said out loud, this is a terrible way to motivate good behavior. It’s no wonder people avoid accountability like the plague. 

Accountability And Negative Consequences

A recipe for subpar success

Not only is this approach miserable and moderately effective at best, as you’ll soon see, it actually creates the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.

Let me give you an example that I think most people will be able to relate with. It will be in a leadership context, but the insights apply to individuals as well.

Let’s say that I’m a leader of an organization and my success is largely dependent on getting my staff to do what I want them to do.

And in this example, someone on my staff hasn’t done what they we’re supposed to do, so I’m going to confront them and hold them accountable.

What does that look like?

Well, they don't do what they're supposed to do, I come up alongside of that and I create some sort of negative consequence. Could be initially a chewing out, but if they still don't do it, then the consequence starts to escalate, and it starts to get more intense.

And the goal of the whole thing is to create a negative consequence that's so uncomfortable, they finally choose to do the thing they were supposed to do.

So, when faced with either accepting my consequence or taking the action, they take the action.

Collateral Damage 100% Of The Time:

Now, in this example, a couple of things are going to happen. And neither one of them are good.

First, when we try and hold people accountable with negative consequences, we get minimum performance. We get just enough to stop the consequence. If I continue with this approach I will never get discretionary effort, that little extra effort, from this person.

Second, and this is important, there will be collateral damage 100% of the time… and it's unpredictable. 

What do I mean by that?

Well, there's anger, potentially. There's resentment. There's pushback. There's excuses.


It creates the opposite of what you're trying to create in a culture. It's creating a victim mindset. It's creating an excuse culture versus a high performance culture.

How might that show up in actions?

Well, this person could begin to take it out on the customers, so the customer service is poor. The interaction with the customer is poor.

The interaction with other staff members and teammates could become poor or strained.

They could start to undermine my authority around the things I’m trying to do in the organization.


And eventually what this leads to is, I either accept poor performance, they quit, or I fire them.

And it's based on the fact that I was trying to hold them accountable with negative consequences.

Stop Holding Them Accountable & Hold Them Capable

 This New Approach Changes Everything!

So now I want to share a different approach with you that’s much more effective and enjoyable.

When we’re coaching clients who struggle with scenarios like the one in our previous example, I would tell them to stop trying to hold them accountable and start holding them capable.

So, what does that mean?

Well, at the heart of it is this notion that you can't force people to do what you want them to do. They have to choose to do it. So, when we talk about holding someone capable, what we're talking about is confronting them with the choices they have.

Let me give you another example and show you what this looks like.

Confronting With Choice:

Let's say I hired on with you and you've got some activity requirements for me, and I'm not doing it.

In the past, if you're trying to hold me accountable, you're going to come in and you're going to start to create these negative consequences. And as we talked about, you might get minimal performance out of me, but I'm going to start to resent that, and that resentment is going to bleed out as we talked about.

So in this example, instead of confronting me with negative consequences, you're going to confront me with the choices I have. Your going to confront me with my freedom to choose for myself so I can consider the consequence of my choice.

As you’ll see, this conversation's going to look vastly different. And, it won’t be nearly as emotional.

It could start with, "Hey, Brian, these actions didn't get done. Agreed?"

“Okay, great.”

“Now the reality is, Brian, you don't have to do this stuff. You have choice. What choices do you have, Brian?”

And what you want to help me realize in this conversation, is I've got one of two choices. I can do it or not do it.

“Brian, you’ve agreed to complete this task, correct?”

“Brian, if you choose to do the task, what do you think will happen?”

Brian, if you choose to not do the task, what do you think will happen?”

In this crude example, the burden is now mine, and the freedom is mine, which it always was.

And Here's The Key...

Do you see how with this approach, you're not the bad guy for creating consequences. You're not the puppet master pulling the strings.

You've now put it back in my lap to say, "Okay, here are the choices you have. Here are the consequences of those choices. Which one do you want to do? Which choice do you want to take?"

And here's the key, when choices are highlighted for people, typically they make the productive choice.

When we confront with choice, and help people understand the consequences of those choices, typically they'll make a productive choice.

Now it may not always be what's productive for the firm or for the agency. So you need to be prepared for that. It may be that the most productive thing for me to do is move on, in which case, that's probably the most productive thing for the agency as well.

But let's just get to that.

This Is A Game Changer!

When you start to confront with choice and the consequences of choices, you’re going to have more fact based conversations.

Because the relationship is different now, and I'm not trying to force you to do something and you're not feeling forced and coerced, you're much more open.

And so that freedom now allows me to talk about what's really going on for me. So it's not that I don't want to make 10 calls a day, the reality is I'm really uncomfortable making those calls.

And now you know what to work on with me. And that's where this is so much more powerful than when you're just trying to hold someone accountable.

It's a completely different conversation. It's a relationship based conversation. It's a trust based conversation. It's a conversation that is really healthy in that you're not trying to overstep your bounds.

The burden to perform is theirs. They're confronted with that, but they're also confronted with the fact that they always, always, always have choice. They don't have to be part of your firm. Right? They could choose to work somewhere else. That's fine. Doesn't make them a bad person, just makes them a bad fit.

But when you start to understand the notion of accountability not as consequences, but as choices and ownership, and you stop trying to hold people accountable and you hold them capable... meaning you confront them with the choices and the consequences of those choices, it's a game changer.

Here's a taste of what you'll find inside this book:

In the book you will learn how to harness the power of accountability, with all of its built-in potential to enable growth and learning, improve well-being, reduce stress, and drive results. You’ll also learn to:

  • Manage negative consequences by “holding others capable” and stop playing the blame game
  • Shift your thinking to take real advantage of simple behavior changes that improve results and engagement
  • Emphasize the power and importance of personal choice in every interaction

Containing real-world case studies that show you how to apply the principles contained within to your own circumstances, Uncommon Accountability is the perfect tool to unlock your potential and the potential of your team.

Meet The Authors:

Brian P. Moran

Brian is the leading authority on leadership, execution and productivity.

As CEO and Founder of The Execution Company, Brian is a highly respected expert and accomplished executive and entrepreneur.

Brian, is the co-author of the New York Times Best Seller The 12 Week Year, a program developed to empower individuals and companies to achieve more in 12 weeks than what others accomplish in 12 months, and consults with many of the top individuals and the Fortune 100.

Prior to launching The Execution Company, Brian held leadership positions with PepsiCo, UPS, Senn-Delaney Management Consultants and National Automotive Corporation.  Coupling his corporate experience with his entrepreneurial drive, Brian also launched a number of start-up ventures including co-founded Bio-Inc., a health services provider specializing in wellness and medical surveillance performing on-site medical testing. 

In addition to The 12 Week Year, Brian has authored three other bestselling books and is a featured in many of the leader business journals and periodicals, and speaks extensively around the globe.  

Brian resides in Arizona and Michigan with his wife Judy and their two daughters Gabrielle and Emma.

Michael Lennington

 Michael is a leading expert in the application of execution systems for individuals, teams, and entire organizations. Currently, he spends his professional time training and coaching his entrepreneurial clients, writing about leadership and business execution, and building simple tools for people seeking to accomplish more in business and in life.  

What has driven Michael’s work since the beginning, is helping others overcome the thinking and action barriers that keep them from accomplishing what they are capable of. He is a New York Times best-selling co-author of three books The 12 Week Year, The 12 Week Year Field Guide, and The 12 Week Year For Writers.

Michael lives in the Greater Louisville area with his wife Kristin, their three dogs, and a retired barn cat named Bean. Michael can be contacted directly at Michael@12WeekYear.com or by visiting michaellennington.com

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Uncommon Accountability