Discussions of accountability can too often degenerate into the search for a scapegoat. That is, someone who can be blamed for perceived (i.e. headline) failure or underperformance. This might satisfy the felt need of some people for retribution. Or offer a seemingly clear-cut resolution to an otherwise more complex challenge. But it does little to encourage people to comment candidly on their own performance or to enable them, individually and collectively, to strive for excellence.
- anticipate and respond in an informed way to the issues and challenges that emerge in practice (i.e. facilitate their response-ability);
- learn from their experience and modify their ongoing practice;
- account for their own perceived contribution (positive, negative and ‘inquisitive’) to issues, events and outcomes that emerge; and
- provide value-adding information that facilitates the performance-related conversations and actions of others.
This shifts the emphasis of accountability away from a sense of judging people and towards one of enabling performance.