Be Accountable

“Do what you say you will do.”
— James M. Kouzes

Years ago I worked for Motorola.

It was my first big Enterprise job.

Our location had over 500 employees.

As typical the offices were laid out in big company form.

Around the perimeter were the director offices, executive offices and the conference rooms.

In the middle of the office was the ever common—seal of cubicles.

The perimeter offices were large.

Each office had a large desk, a credenza and a conference table at minimum.

My boss at the time Bob was one of the executives.

When you’d walk into his office first thing you passed was the conference table.

Then you would arrive at his desk.

As was the trend, each executive had a name plate on their desk.

So when you sat down you’d be facing the name plate of the person you were speaking to.

Very old school.

Now Bob was different.

He was fanatical about total customer satisfaction.

And he wanted to make a statement.

And so on his desk he changed the insert on his nameplate to say...

Do what you say you will do.

It was a bold statement.

Something for everyone to live up to that stepped into his office.

He was known around the campus for having the nameplate on his desk.

It was the 90’s.

It was Fortune 100.

It was Enterprise.

It was tribal.

It was going against the grain.

Yep, this was it.

This was well before open offices and all the stuff we have going on nowadays.

As a young person in tech Bob could be an intimidating figure.

And that’s because he demanded accountability.

If you walked out of his office with an action item you bet you were going to do it.

Now Bob wasn’t unreasonable.

He just wanted people to be accountable.

Being the dutiful staff member I always lived up to my commitments.

This kind of training at the beginning of my career helped to forge years of opportunity and success.

If you know me you know I’m a dreamer.

You also know that I’m an optimist.

But most of all I am a doer.

Do what you say you will do.

If you can’t do it for Bob.

Do it for yourself.

You’ll be the better for it.