Intentionally shift what you say to begin creating the accountability you want.
Consider what you say now. How might you be unintentionally eroding group accountability for what happens in meetings?
As you’re off to your next meeting, do you say, “I have a meeting”?
Intentionally shift what you say to,
We have a meeting.”
You’ll convey to everyone within earshot that you see meetings as having shared accountability.
When a meeting ran over, did you say, “The meeting ran long”?
This subtly implies no one was accountable, that the meeting had ownership of itself. Shift what you say to,
We ran long.”
You’ll reflect shared ownership, that the people at your meetings, including you, are accountable for what happens.
If someone derailed the agenda in a meeting you initiated, did you say, “They took over my meeting”?
This implies only you are accountable for the agenda, while others are only accountable for how they participate. Intentionally ask,
We didn’t accomplish our meeting agenda last time; what needs to happen next time so we do?”
In this way, you collaborate for a solution and shift accountability to everyone.
After meeting on a thorny issue, have you said, “There was conflict”?
This suggests no one was accountable. It also implies you are distancing yourself from what happened versus acknowledging you may have played some part. Intentionally shift what you say to,
We had conflict.”
You’ll set an example for others about how to hold shared accountability for group conflict.
Whose meeting is it?
Intentionally shift how you refer to meetings.
That’s how you begin to create the shared accountability you want.
Mine. When you refer to meetings you initiate as “my meetings” or what “I” accomplish in them, you rob the group of ownership and accountability. You put all the heavy lifting for the meeting and its outcomes on yourself.
His, or hers. When you refer to meetings others initiate as “her meeting” or what happened in “his meeting”, or what ‘they’ did, you disable or deny your own powerful contributions and shift the accountability for what happens—good or bad—to someone else.
Ours. When you refer to your meetings with “we”, and what happens with “our” efforts, you express a powerful and contagious idea: everyone in a meeting owns it and is therefore accountable for what takes place.