Hearing the word “accountability” often sends shivers down people’s spines. There are so many myths and misconceptions that surround the idea of accountability. Seldom do we appreciate its role in our personal and professional growth. Today, Arlene talks with Nancy Bartlett to discuss what accountability really is and how we exercise it in our lives. It may surprise many people to know accountability is not something to be feared, rather it is a skill to practice by today’s highly influential leaders. Nancy also shares the accountability formula and how to help others be accountable, too. When we attend to our individual roles and be honest instead of blaming others when things don’t work out, we can accelerate our success and build harmonious relationships along the way. Tune in and learn the secret to effective accountability.
“It always goes back to you. Instead of blaming others, always will Look inside first and be honest with yourself.” -Nancy Bartlett
00:28 Accountability Is Not to be Feared
04:16 The Better Way to Think About Accountability
07:20 Helping vs Holding
16:29 Helping People Become More Accountable
25:38 Relationships and Accountability
29:34 Listen and Listen Well
32:28 Imposter Syndrome- The Enemy of Accountability
34:47 Find Yourself an Accountability Partner
12:38 “You have to have colleagues where you all agree that you’re going to help each other.” -Nancy Bartlett
13:17 “Not knowing how to do something isn’t evil. We’ve all been in a position where we are not sure how to do that. And we look for somebody who can help teach us or lead us.” -Nancy Bartlett
16:44 “Leadership has nothing to do with your job title; it’s how you show up every day.” -Nancy Bartlett
20:27 “The very best feedback is when we ask for it, rather than just waiting for somebody to give it to us.” -Nancy Bartlett
25:02 “It’s not about right or wrong, sometimes it’s just about different.” -Arlene Gale
30:52 “Listening to other people is one of the best things you can do, not only as a leader, but as a human being.” -Nancy Bartlett
36:40 “It always comes back to you. Instead of blaming others, accountability always starts with looking inside ourselves first. Make an honest assessment of yourself first.” -Nancy Bartlett
Nancy Bartlett has served as a high-level leader and coach helping organizations and their people take personal and professional performance and relationships to new heights. Nancy Bartlett of Bartlett Alliance has a goal to help people and businesses to imagine their potential and deliver real results. She helps clients focus on their personal accountability factor and improve workplace efficiency and effectiveness. Nancy also currently serves as an Advisor, Consultant, Author, Speaker, and Charter Review Commissioner for her community.
Arlene Gale: Hi, welcome everybody. Today, we’re talking about the mindsets and myths around accountability. Now, before you freak out and pass out, because that’s a big word, I know that accountability and the idea or thought of being accountable is a word that just makes people squirm. So that’s part of the reason why we’re talking about accountability today, because of that mindset that makes that word so scary and makes the actions that go along with that word even scarier. But accountability is about taking responsibility for your own actions in being a positive impact in your role, whether it’s personal or professional. It’s not just people who are accountable through, it’s also, how do we hold businesses accountable? Or how do they make themselves accountable? And it doesn’t matter how small or how large a business is, it is absolutely accountable, or at least it should be, right? We know some that are better than others, but a business should be accountable to its customers, to its employees, to its stockholders, and even some businesses should be accountable to the impact they make on the environment, for example. And a lot of people think that being accountable or taking accountability means, Oh, I’m just going to thump my chest, and I’m going to just take credit for that because it was so good. Well, really sometimes accountability is also about admitting you made a mistake, so that’s where some people get tripped up in the world of taking accountability.
The other thing is that with accountability, a lot of people associate accountability with obligation, and you know what? That’s so negative, that’s such a downer. Obligation, I learned a long time ago that, I set a goal for myself that I wasn’t going to do things out of obligation. Those things like laundry for example, or dishes, or creating an annual budget, whether it’s personal or professional obligation, that just seems like such a big downer, but obligation is certainly part of accountability because there are things that we have to do personally and professionally to survive. So we’re going to talk to our guests today, Nancy Bartlett about the good, the bad, the ugly as related to myths and mindsets around accountability. She has served as a high level leader and coach helping organizations and their people take their personal and professional performance, and their relationships to new heights. The Bartlett Alliance, which is the name of her company, has a goal to help people and businesses to imagine your potential. She helps clients focus on their personal accountability factor. How we do or don’t follow through creates an image in other’s minds as to who they think that we are. Most of us believe that we’re highly accountable, but Nancy is going to clarify whether that’s true or not. We think all of those other people who need to get their act together, whether that’s colleagues, spouses, partners, friends, children, it’s certainly not us. Well, let’s see what my guest today, Nancy Bartlett has to say about myths and mindsets around accountability.
Hi Nancy, welcome.
Nancy Bartlett: Good morning. Thank you.
Arlene Gale: So let’s talk a little bit about, help us define accountability and then go into what you call the personal accountability factor.
Nancy Bartlett: Well, when I first got interested in this whole idea of accountability, I was working in an organization in an HR human resources role. And it just seemed to me that every time there was an issue, the people involved in the issue talked about what the other person needed to do to fix it right. And we all have a tendency to do that. It’s like if everybody else around me, we just do what they need to do, that would be fine, but we don’t look at ourselves. So I started thinking about that, and when I looked up, and you kind of touched on this, I went to Webster’s dictionary and I said: “Well, how does Webster’s dictionary define accountability?” And it says that: “Accountability is an obligation or willingness to keep our commitments to others.” But I was like, I looked at the odd and I thought, obligation is such a heavy word. Oh, my gosh, I’m obligated to give you a Christmas price, or I’m obligated to be nice to you, whatever it may be, right? There’s nothing positive about that. And when we talk about accountability, we tend to say we need to hold people accountable. Well, that’s kind of scary if you think about it. So I thought there’s gotta be a better way to think about this word because we think about it in such a negative factor. And why can’t we think about it in a positive way? Because Arlene, if you and I are working together, you see me playing something, maybe I’m getting ready to make a mistake, or say, or do something that you think that’s probably not in your best interest, I would want you tell me that, right? That is you helping me to be accountable, not you holding me accountable, you’re helping me. And if you and I help each other, and if we help each other, if we’re all a team, if we help our boss, if we help the people, we supervise, if we our children, our spouses, any of those people, if we help them be accountable, they are going to be more successful. We’re going to be more successful and our relationships are actually going to improve. That’s a totally different way of thinking.
Arlene Gale: That’s interesting because I had never thought about it that way. But yeah, because if we’re in a management position and we’re helping versus holding, we’re teaching, I read someplace once that a good leader is really training their replacements, and that’s a good thing for a leader to work themselves out of a job. So we’re more likely to be able to do that if we’re helping, right?
Nancy Bartlett: That’s right.
Arlene Gale: So how do you see this, this ideology of helping versus holding work out? Can you give us an example in with one of your clients?
Nancy Bartlett: Yes. So probably you and your listeners have seen something like this before. So I was working with a client and there was a supervisor talking about issues with his employees, those people who reported to him, and there was a lot of, it was the employee’s fault, if things weren’t going right. So I happened to be in the break room, and while I was there, employees were sitting around chatting like they do on break, and the supervisor comes barreling in the room and he says: “George, hold it right there. You know you’re the one who just screwed this whole thing up, and buddy, I’m holding you accountable.” In the break room, all of a sudden everybody had something else to do. Because they knew that, Oh, my gosh, George just did something and the supervisor was going to hold him account. Now, you can imagine if you were George, how would you feel about that? The supervisor had maybe seen George in the break room, pulled him aside and said: “Hey man, I just came across this issue. You and I really need to have a conversation about this. I’m not sure what happened, but let’s see if we can figure it out.” Now, George is going to react in a totally different way, and you wouldn’t have all those other people in the break room scrambling to go somewhere else. So it seems so simple because these are things that we know are the right way to handle it.
But for some reason, way too many of us don’t. We get all caught up when something goes wrong and blame other people. And you’ve probably seen this a bajillion times, kind of picture a microphone and a whole bunch of people standing around with cameras, and other microphones and they’re waiting for somebody to walk out and all of a sudden the person walks towards the microphone very slowly looking very somber. And the person says, I’m so sorry. I hope that people can forgive me. I know that I’m personally accountable for this and so I hope that my friends, and you can fill in the blank here, my constituents, my whatever, and then they talk about how sorry they are. But when I see those scenes are very public, and usually it’s a public figure, or a celebrity, or somebody we all know. I don’t really get the sense that they’re sorry for what they do, I get the sense that they’re sorry that they got caught in such a public way. Talk about this, we can think of a number of examples today, we’re seeing those kinds of things going on. So it’s really first changing our own mindset about what is accountability? How can I help myself? And how can I help others be more productive and more successful? And imagine if you worked in an organization where everybody had that mindset, how different would it be? And how successful could people, and teams, and organizations be if they truly embrace the positive aspects of accountability?
Arlene Gale: Yeah. Cause it seems like in the scenario that you gave, first of all, a public attack like that and quote holding that person accountable really becomes a morale issue that extends beyond the two people involved.
Nancy Bartlett: Yeah, absolutely. You said in the beginning that sometimes we just have to say, you know what? I was wrong and I’m sorry. And if I, Arlene, can you help me make sure I don’t do that again. Or maybe I want some coaching, maybe I need something to help me reflect on who I am. So it’s not personality type per se, I don’t think. I just think that most of us find it very difficult to acknowledge when we’ve done something wrong. And particularly to do that at work because we have supervisors, like the one I just described to you, we’re afraid that if we say, Oh, my gosh, I was wrong and we’re going to be quote unquote held accountable. And they get punished for it. So it’s that cringeworthy response that we got. Like you referenced that, Oh, my gosh, if somebody’s being held accountable, we’re in big trouble. And if I’ve got a boss who is like the one I described to you, I’m going to be very leery to step up sometimes and acknowledge that I’ve done something wrong. So what I have to do in that situation is make sure that, number one, I’m confident in who I am and what I’m doing. I need to be able to acknowledge my mistakes, and I need to develop relationships on my team and in the organization. Again, where we all say, you know what, we’re all gonna help each other. And if we’re truly doing that, then I’m going to make fewer mistakes because I’m going to have somebody like you, Arlene, coming in and saying, Hey, Nancy, have faith. That’s probably not the best approach, it’s not going to be helpful. So if we could do that more, and that doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, it just means you have to have colleagues where you all agree that you’re going to help each other. And I’ve done a lot of work with a team, I do the workshop around leading high performing teams. And one of the things we talk about there is how are we as a team going to help each other be accountable because we’ve all worked on teams, where maybe five people and four of them are doing everything they need to do and one isn’t. The one that’s NOT, how can we help that person? And we have a tendency to say, Oh, they’re just lazy. They don’t know what they’re doing, whatever. And maybe they just aren’t experienced. Maybe they don’t know how to do it, but not knowing how to do something is, we’ve all been in a position where I’m not sure how to do that, and we look for somebody who can help us. Unfortunately, on teams, sometimes I just forget about them. The rest of us will pitch in and do that person’s work. And if we do that, what have we just taught that person?“You have to have colleagues where you all agree that you're going to help each other.” -Nancy Bartlett Click To Tweet “Not knowing how to do something isn't evil. We've all been in a position where we are not sure how to do that. And we look for somebody who can help teach us or lead us.” -Nancy Bartlett Click To Tweet
Arlene Gale: Yeah, we haven’t taught them anything, well, we haven’t helped them and we’ve taught them that they’re incapable, and probably we’ve even taught them to why bother trying, right?
Nancy Bartlett: Exactly. So the next time they don’t want to do something or they feel uncomfortable doing something, they know that the rest of us are going to jump in and take care of it. Again, I heard this phrase many years ago that I love and it’s this, “we teach people how to treat us.”
Arlene Gale: Absolutely.
Nancy Bartlett: In that situation, what 14 members taught the 15 members was, Hey, if you don’t do your part, we are going to jump in and do that for you, okay. We teach people how to treat us, so I think of that in terms of accountability too. If we are truly saying, number one, I’d like to get better, I want to be successful, I want to have good relationships at work, and I’m willing to have a conversation with my colleagues about it. How can we help each other so that all of us are successful? And that’s again, then we’re teaching people how to treat us in a totally different way.
Arlene Gale: Absolutely. Well, Nancy, we’re going to take a quick break, but you guys don’t go anywhere. Listeners, we’re going to come back and talk to Nancy a little bit about, what are some of the factors that help us set up accountability in groups and individually. Does that have to do with how we set goals, and creating a safe workspace, and even giving people permission to ask for help. How do those factors work into turning accountability into something positive? As soon as we get back, we’ll put Nancy on the spot and ask her those questions. Stay tuned.
Welcome back everybody. Today, we’re talking to my special guests, Nancy Bartlett of the Bartlett Alliance about the mindsets and myths related to accountability so that when people use that word accountability, we can take the discomfort out of that, that we can help people become more accountable. So I’m wondering, Nancy, how does setting clear goals or creating, do we need to make it spoken that this is a safe place to ask for help? What are some things that individuals can do or managers can do so that the team performs better when it comes to accountability?
Nancy Bartlett: I think it’s taking the initiative to start a conversation. You don’t have to be the supervisor or the manager to do that. You could even be the brand new employee. So I’ve always said, and I’m not the only one who says this: “Leadership has nothing to do with your job title. It’s how you show up every day.” So this is the leadership opportunity. And if you’re willing to start the conversation to say, I want to make sure that all of us are highly successful here. So let’s make sure, number one is you said, we’re clear on the goals, what is it we’re actually trying to accomplish here? Because how many times have you been in a meeting, and you walk out of the meeting, and one person says, wow, we just decided to do X, Y, Z, and somebody else’s, nobody didn’t, it was ABC, and we weren’t in the same room. Making absolutely sure people are clear on goals is very important. And it’s not just, okay, does everybody agree? And you see it through head nods and you move on. You need to have serious conversations, detailed conversations to make absolutely sure that everybody does have the same understanding of what the goals are, and then once we do that, then it’s okay, so how can we make sure that we stay on track and you have a conversation around that. All of us are much more likely to follow through on something if we actually write it down and have conversations about it rather than if we just listened to somebody else say, here’s what we’re going to do. So we have to all be clear on that. So making sure that everybody’s part of the conversation, everybody’s clear on what the goals are, and then having the conversation about, how are we going to tackle this? What’s going to happen if something goes wrong? Well, it’s going to happen if all of a sudden somebody’s sick for a week and there are pieces missing or what is going to happen if we feel like somebody is simply not following through, how are we going to do that? And you have those conversations and then everybody understands it and they’re much more likely to be part of helping each other be accountable.“Leadership has nothing to do with your job title; it’s how you show up every day.” -Nancy Bartlett Click To Tweet
Arlene Gale: So is there a secret formula or something that you could give me to help me be more aware of the role I play in being accountable?
Nancy Bartlett: There’s a really simple secret formula. So if you have a pen or pencil, piece of paper, don’t do this if you’re driving somewhere. Draw a horizontal line on the piece of paper, and on the left hand side, put one, and on the right hand side, put 10. So one is obviously I’m terrible at being accountable. I know and I just never followed through. 10 is I am fabulous. I am like the model, anybody who wants to totally understand personal accountability, come watch me because I’m really good at it, and I can tell you pretty much [inaudible] that’s mine. So figure out where you are, 5 is in the middle of that line. Everybody’s filled out surveys on 1 to 10, I’m average, and then you got all those numbers in between. Be very honest with yourself and put an X where you think you are when it comes to your own personal accountability. How good are you at making sure that you understand what the goals are, whether they’re your personal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. How good are you really making sure that you’re absolutely clear on that? How good are you? How accountable are you, first, looking at yourself and saying, what else can I do? Where do I need to improve? Do you ask for feedback from your team? The very best feedback is when we ask for it rather than just waiting for somebody to get it. So ask for feedback. Others see you because they know that often we see ourselves one way, but other people may have a slightly different picture of who we are.“The very best feedback is when we ask for it, rather than just waiting for somebody to give it to us.” -Nancy Bartlett Click To Tweet
Arlene Gale: Yeah. Because I’m thinking about this, and I’ve got my note, and I’ve written down my scale here, and I’m self-reporting, and I’m thinking, okay, well, I might give myself an eight, but this person that I just tried to embarrass for not being accountable for whatever, they might have given me a two. So this self reporting is a little bit biased, but that feedback element I think is key, but that raises the issue that vulnerability has to be part of the accountability formula, right?
Nancy Bartlett: Oh, that’s such a good point. You’re exactly right. So you have to be open to the fact that, Oh, my gosh, maybe I’m not as perfect as I thought I was. If I don’t think I’m perfect, there are still other people that think that. So you have to open vulnerable as you say, and willing for feedback, and understand that it’s being done in a way to help you. And that’s the mindset piece I think. Sadly, too often when we get any kind of feedback that we perceive as negative, meaning it’s less than what we would like it to be. We have a tendency to take that very personally. If we’re honest with ourselves, we get our feelings hurt, right? And then in our minds we might be rationalizing why that person’s wrong. We go through all that stuff, and instead, it takes work. You have to say, I honestly want to know how others see me. I’m going to work really hard to put my own personal biases aside and just listen. Listen to what they have to say, and if I don’t quite see it the way they do, I’m going to make sure that I don’t immediately say, Oh, no, no, no, that’s not right. And let me tell you what, don’t do that. Listen, ask questions to understand why they see it that way. Just ask open ended questions. Don’t immediately start to judge, respond, agree or disagree, don’t do any of that. Just listen and then maybe ask another person, and then another person, and get as many perspectives as you can.
Arlene Gale: Right.
Nancy Bartlett: So people will see you differently, but that’s where we started off in this conversation that we see ourselves one way, but do others see us the same way. So they know us by how they perceived their experience with us. So Arlene, when you and I maybe are working together on something, you have a perception of me as how I am as a colleague or a team member. So instead of just assuming that you see me a certain way, I need to ask you, and if it’s a little different, I should think about that, and I should be willing to ask other people. Because again, this is helping us so that in the end when something, when I walk in the room, I want to make sure that the instant thought that people had is, Oh, great, Nancy’s here. I love her on my team because she always does everything she’s supposed to do. They’re happy that they’re on the team with me as opposed to, if I walk in the room they go, Oh, no, Nancy is on the team. We’ve all thought that about people. But again, do you think about other people, we don’t think about ourselves. And you always have to start with yourself. How am I doing? And how can I honestly assess myself? And then am I open and vulnerable to how other people see me?
Arlene Gale: Well, that’s funny. That made me chuckle a little bit because somebody, I was in a workshop one time and they were talking about, are you the person who walks in the room and people are happy to see, are you the person that walks in the room, or you’re happy to be in the room with those people or not. And if you’re happy to, there’s always one in every group. So if you walk into a room and you love everybody, and they walk away from you, you might want to look in the mirror and see, are you that person? So anyway, don’t be that person, don’t be that person, yeah. So if you, I think the perception, the negativity, and so many people focus on the negative aspects, and sometimes I want to get your feedback on this point. It’s not about right or wrong, sometimes it’s about different, and going back to personality types, I mean, it’s not right or wrong, it’s different. So getting feedback from other people doesn’t have to mean that what they’re saying is wrong about you, or right about you, process what people tell you, and keep what has value, and then leave the rest because it may not have value, or maybe you’re in a place right now where you can’t process the value. So what do you have to say about right, wrong versus just different.
“It’s not about right or wrong, sometimes it’s just about different.” -Arlene Gale
Nancy Bartlett: You’re exactly right. I’m really glad that you brought that up Arlene, because you can get feedback from a lot of people. And the other thing, we have to be honest about is, that some relationships are more important to us than others, right? So you’ve got some people who are very important to you in your life, whether that’s at work, outside of work, whatever that may be, and you value what they have to say, you value what they think of you. The danger is if we then say, well, this person over here isn’t that important to me in my life, and they’re the ones that are saying things to me that make me feel a little uncomfortable and I just blow it off because I say, well, they’re not in my inner circle, so it doesn’t matter. It does matter because somebody has that perception of you and you need to at least understand why. Now, if you get a hundred different comments about, you know, X, Y, and Z, then obviously you can’t do all that. You’re right, but have to figure out how to filter it so that you can say, all right, this is something I’ve heard from two or three people and so I think this is something that I need to work on. It’s in the same realm as I tell when I’m doing training with leaders and managers. There’s two people, and you have to be very careful about when you’re supervising them and giving them feedback, and one is the person that you really think is a difficult employee. They’re the ones that are challenged, and for whatever reason, they are challenged to you, might part of that problem may be you, but for whatever reason they are challenged because the tendency is to be harder on them because we have a negative perception of them. You have to be equally concerned about the person that you love, that you think is the greatest employee in the world. Because if they do make some kind of mistake, you tend to go a lot easier on them. So it’s not about, do I like this person or not like this person, and the most important person in my life or not. It’s still just feedback and information as to how people see you. And then you have to sit back and be really honest with yourself. If that’s how that person sees me, if I did something about that, would that improve my relationships and my performance? And so you have to ask yourself that question. And if the answer is yes, then that’s something that you want to work.
Arlene Gale: Absolutely. So I’m gonna put you on the spot a little bit here. So how long has the Bartlett Alliance been in business?
Nancy Bartlett: Since 2010 in my business, but I can say probably for 25 years given my role when I worked inside of other organizations.
Arlene Gale: Okay. So with that known now as a known quantity, would you say, and I don’t want to get into politics here, I don’t want to stray away from the accountability factor, but would you say that in your experience over the years that there’s more talking and less listening?
Nancy Bartlett: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So one of the courses I went through a very long time ago was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. And I had so many moments that I realized, well, there’s something I need to do differently, right? That I got certified to train it. And I still train that for some clients from time to time when they ask for it, because one of the habits is seek first to understand then to be understood. And that’s all about listening to other people first. If you really listen to somebody, and you’re not prejudging, and you don’t have a lot of stuff going on in your head, you’re actually listening to them. You will always learn something, always. And then you can respond in a more effective way because now you’re responding to them in a way that lets them know, wow, they are really listening to me. Because most of us don’t feel like we’re heard. When somebody actually listens to you, Arlene, have you ever had a moment where you just said, well, thank you.“Listening to other people is one of the best things you can do, not only as a leader, but as a human being.” -Nancy Bartlett Click To Tweet
Arlene Gale: Yes.
Nancy Bartlett: Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often enough. So that tells you right there that we don’t do a good job of truly listening to each other. And in fact, if you do that, people who are known as really great listeners are people who are also highly influential because they listen to what other people say, incorporate that into their thoughts. They make a decision as to how can I improve this, or respond to that person in some way, and then their actions actually show that they’re doing something about it so they’re not just, okay, we have five minutes left, thank you very much. No, we actually had a conversation, right? So listening to people is one of the best things you can do, not only as a leader but as a human being.
Arlene Gale: Absolutely. And that I would assume listening to people, and listening to people does not just mean that you’re not talking, there is a difference.
Nancy Bartlett: Really listening is hard and it takes practice. It is a skill just like any other skill like reading, and writing, and speaking, and think about how much training and education you’ve had throughout your whole life on those areas, but how much formal education and training have you had, and how to listen really well. Most of us have not had any of that.
Arlene Gale: Well, and that seems to me that listening and listening well would be a key factor in learning to hold ourselves or help ourselves. See now you got me using a different language, that’s good. Helping ourselves and helping others to be more accountable.
Nancy Bartlett: Yes, absolutely.
Arlene Gale: Cool. Well, that’s great. Thank you for that little nugget. So now I’m going to put you back on the hot seat with a completely different thing, talking about your mindsets, personally or professionally, wherever you want to go with these. And I got three kinds of rapid fire questions I want to toss out to you. So you ready?
Nancy Bartlett: I’m ready.
Arlene Gale: Okay. So what is a mindset that you’ve had to overcome in your life or your business that has hindered you from experiencing the success you now have?
Nancy Bartlett: Well, interestingly I think, what do they call it? The imposter syndrome, where you find yourself in maybe a cool position and all of a sudden you think, wow, do I deserve to be in this position? Am I good enough if I just stay on my way here? We started questioning ourself, so to me, that’s a book to work on that. So that can still pop up from time to time. So it’s working on that.
Arlene Gale: Interesting. And with all your success, that’s interesting. And what that tells me is, despite all of your success, and the way I see you, that you still struggle with darn the humanity issues.
Nancy Bartlett: I mean, I think if I didn’t, then I would probably be in a bad place because really it’s just always questioning and saying, am I doing what I need to do to be in this position? Am I being responsible? Am I being accountable? To make sure on a daily basis I’m deserving of where I am and what I need to do. And if I just thought I didn’t need to think about that anymore, I’d be going in the wrong direction.
Arlene Gale: So what helps you, what is a mindset that helps you win that little ugly voice comes up and says, you don’t deserve this. What’s a mindset that helps you to move through that so you don’t just wallow in that?
Nancy Bartlett: For me, I think it’s just doing a real gut check. Why am I thinking that? Why do I feel that way? So I kind of recognize when it does happen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as much, but I just recognize it, and then I literally tell myself, okay, time out. You need to, what is making you think that are you here? And maybe sometimes is that I do need to do a little more research on something to make sure I’m up to date on it. Or maybe it’s just sometimes you wear yourself out and you get exhausted. Sometimes you do too much. And so for me, like I said, it’s just that gut check and saying, okay, why am I thinking that? And then walk myself through how did I get here? And usually I can find somewhere along the way that’s like, okay, that’s a little side trip over there. Stop it, go back. So again, just being able to have that conversation. And then occasionally I have people that I work with that I trust a lot and I’ll call them and say, Hey, you know, and just have a conversation and get some feedback. And that helps me a lot.
Arlene Gale: Accountability partners. Wow. What a concept. I have some accountability partners in my life too, I couldn’t do what I do without them dumping me on the back of the head sometimes and going, okay, refocus or stop.
Nancy Bartlett: Nobody’s perfect. So that to me is a little bit liberating, we all need a little help.
Arlene Gale: Awesome. So other than the little golden nugget about finding accountability partners, there’s people who will love you, warts and all, and we’ll, they won’t just look at something and go, that’s good. They’ll look at that and go, what were you thinking? Don’t do that. So other than that little nugget we just gave everybody, is there something that some little golden nugget you can leave people with about the accountability mindset that they can implement easily, quickly, effectively in their own life, or something they should watch for as it has to relate to being accountable.
Nancy Bartlett: I would say, maybe think about conversation that he recently had with somebody, or an interaction it did not go the way he wanted it, to just turned out and you left feeling uncomfortable about that. Then go back and think through, dissect that interaction, that conversation from what you said, or did, or didn’t say, or didn’t do. And first, figure out, what could I have done differently? How would I have liked that to turn it off? What could I have done differently to make that happen? So again, it always goes back to you, insight first. Because our tendency in those situations is to think about why it didn’t work out because of what the other person did or didn’t do. We walk away and they immediately start blaming somebody else. That is a mindset that needs to change instead of blaming others. Always look inside first and be honest with yourself. Oh, I said this that probably got the conversation going in the wrong way, or I didn’t say something when I shouldn’t have. So you look at yourself first.
“It always comes back to you. Instead of blaming others, accountability always starts with looking inside ourselves first. Make an honest assessment of yourself first.” -Nancy Bartlett
Arlene Gale: That’s fabulous wisdom. Thank you Nancy for that. Can you tell people where they can connect with you on social media or a website? How can they get more of your accountability brilliance?
Nancy Bartlett: Well, my website is the Bartlett Alliance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone number is (214) 454-8527. I am on LinkedIn, that’s where I like to connect professionally with most people, so feel free to look me up, nancypowellbartlett on LinkedIn. And I have an online video course, this called Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities through avanoo.com, and that’s A-V-A-N-O-O. And the cool thing about this training is you get one video a day for 18 days and each one of them is three minutes or less. So you can’t say, I don’t have time for training, three minutes a day, I’d be happy to get more information if somebody’s interested in that. But that’s a fun thing, and it’s really, you hear my voice, but you see a scene that represents the little story I’m telling you. So it’s telling a story, and then a lesson learned, and then challenging the listener to do something with that information, all in three minutes less.
Arlene Gale: Wow. I mean, that’s as long as you brush your teeth, everybody should be able to do that. Not that I want to get into personal hygiene habits or anything, but I’m just thinking.
Nancy Bartlett: That’s another accountability.
Arlene Gale: There you go. There you go. Nancy, it’s been so much fun getting to talk to you, and thank you for being someone in my life that I respect and learn so much from, and I know how busy you are, so I really, really, really appreciate you sharing this time with me and my listeners.
Nancy Bartlett: Well, it was fun and completely my pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me.
Arlene Gale: You are very welcome, we’re going to have to do this again. But before we close out today’s episode, I want to leave my listeners with this thought. Be mindful of the stories that you tell yourself about what is or is not possible. You get to choose how to live and write your own story every day. Don’t let the world dictate your story. You make the choice to do it yourself.