A postmodern journey of faith...

2/08/2007

Americans hate accountability.

Americans hate accountability. It's a fact. Point-in-case: tonight at work, I began to implement a new system designed to give accountability to the kids on our crew to be sure they do their work. Our goal is to raise our standard of customer service and help people do their jobs better. As things stand now, there is really no way to put the spotlight on those who work poorly, because everything just is thrown into a "big pot." It's the classic, "Somebody should do these things; anybody could do them, but nobody did." We're aiming to identify somebody, anybody, and nobody.

The system is simple: it's a list of tasks for each job area. The crew person will simply initial each task as it's completed. If their doing their jobs, it's really no big deal, except for one detail...

Did I mention that Americans hate accountability?

Yeah, there's the problem. Tonight was a "dry run;" it didn't matter, as I was only looking for help getting the list to a place where it is simple and concise. I approached three different employees, asking them for help. "Just go through the list as you do your tasks tonight and see if I missed anything or if anything is unclear. Leave some feedback on the paper if there's anything that needs changed."

One guy got out his cigarette lighter and was going to burn it.

Another person balked, told me that they were insulted, and then tried to get me to reassign the tasks on their list to other employees. (I wonder why they balked...hmmm...)

Ironically, the only person who didn't object is the person who had extra work added to his responsibilities. He was very agreeable. Of course, he's also in a position where his primary job may prevent him from completing the list--and that's just the way it is. There's nothing we can do to change that.

But I think the bottom line is this: people hate knowing somebody is watching. I know I do. Sometimes we avoid situations we should really be involved with because we don't want to feel "inspected." I think about my life--I don't want my pastor or my wife to know that I almost looked at some things online I shouldn't have last night. (No, it wasn't porn...but it was bad enough.) And if I tell them (of course, now I just told the world...), then I'll feel like they're looking over my shoulder every time I turn around. Of course, if they're looking over my shoulder, that probably means they are also watching my back. My honesty keeps me accountable--and that causes me to avoid stupid things because I know somebody's going to check me out.

My dad once said, "Locks keep honest people honest." Somebody who is going to do the wrong thing will do it, regardless of their situation. Accountability is like a lock; it helps protect us from ourselves.

3 comments:

notsilent1 said...

Ironically enough, I've been thinking a lot about accountability this morning because I've seen how it has helped me in the past, but haven't had a lot of it since moving to Sioux Falls. I've been putting it off under the guise of needing to develop relationship first.

I have decided to ask someone at work for accountability with exercise and am still considering who I can partner with for spiritual accountability. I have a few ideas, but I think there is the chance that something may develop through new relationships at church, so I'm setting the goal of finding someone by the end of May.

Hey Torey, can you keep me accountable on this?
; >)

David Bielby said...

I liked this post. Thanks Tory.

Antoine said...

This was indeed a good posting. I too have had my failings a lot in keeping and being accountable to more than just myself. Its something that bugs at me, and yet I do see areas where I have slowly improved.