Uncommon Accountability: A book review by Bob Morris

Uncommon Accountability: A Radical New Approach to Greater Success and Fulfillment
Brian P. Morgan and Michael Lennington
Wiley (December 2021)

How to take personal ownership of your state in life

In his classic work, Denial of Death, Ernest Becker acknowledges that no one can deny physical death but there is another form of death that can be denied: That which occurs “when we become obsessed with fulfilling others’ expectations of us.” How to deny that?  Brian Morgan and Michael Lennington suggest that we must take personal ownership of our state in life. “This view of accountability is the foundation of this book.”

Moreover, they suggest, “Regardless of how you’ve experienced it, accountability is not consequences, it’s ownership. At the heart of accountability is free-will choice. You always, always, always have choice. That doesn’t mean you will always like the choices available to you, but you have choice.”

The mistake many people make is to embrace a fundamental misconception: blaming themselves and/or others as helpless victims rather than accept personal ownership of impact and outcomes. Only then are we truly empowered to create the results desired. “Accountability, more than any other personal character trait, ensures that you will live the best life possible in the circumstances that you face.”

Morgan and Lennington also stress the critical importance of having supervisors take personal accountability for helping their direct reports —  those entrusted to their care —  to take ownership of what they do and how they do it. No one can control everything that happens to them but they can control HOW they respond to whatever does or doesn’t happen.

These are among the passages of special interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Morgan and Lennington’s coverage:

o The Benefits of Accountability (Page 15)
o The Victory Mindset (25-26)
o Flawed Thinking (26-32)
o The Possible Costs of Accountability (41-42)
o Victim versus Ownership Mindsets (53)

o Move Out of Your Comfort Zone (63-68)
o Relationships (77-79)
o Being Accountable in an Unaccountable World (87-90)
o A Culture of Accountability (99-102)
o How to Apply Consequences (110-115)

o Personal Responsibility (119-122)
o The Power of High Expectations and Standards  (124-127)
o The Accountable Mindset (128-130)
o Attitude and Behavior (133-136)
o Critical Structures (141-146)

Also, I commend to your attention the final two chapters  — “Casting an Accountable Shadow” and “Putting It All Together” —  in which Brian Morgan and Michael Lennington provide information, insights, and counsel that will help you and your associates to develop and then implement an action plan that can accelerate personal growth and professional development at all levels and in all areas throughout your enterprise. Collective as well as individual accountability, in my opinion, is the absolutely essential secret sauce to health and happiness as well as to material success.

Meanwhile, here is some excellent advice from Jean-Paul Sartre: “Man is condemned to be free, because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning…Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”



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