The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

Most companies we interview as potential clients mention the lack of accountability as the root of their problems.  It likely is, but we believe that accountability is a result and a deliverable.  If you haven’t addressed the first three dysfunctions of a team…

1. Absence of trust

2. Fear of conflict

3. Lack of commitment

then the fourth, avoidance of accountability, is typically a natural byproduct.  Accountability occurs naturally when trust has been established, open and productive conflict is encouraged, and a strong level of real commitment has been achieved.  Addressing those first three identified dysfunctions turns accountability into a much more inevitable outcome.

One of the turning points in my parenting occurred just a few years ago.  I had made up my mind on a situation concerning my daughter.  I do that easily and quickly.  My wife believed my daughter had a valid and well-supported reason for seeing things differently.  When my wife chided her to talk to me about it, she said:

“What’s the point, he has already made up his mind."

I want her to trust my best of intentions for her well enough to tell me her true feelings.  I want her to believe that respectfully offering her differing opinion is okay.  Because I want us to be able to commit to things and feel comfortable holding her accountable.  

Frankly, her feeling that there was no point in sharing her opinions or feelings with me broke my heart.

As we have worked to eliminate those “dysfunctions" in our relationship, much in the way a healthy team should, we have become closer.  She feels like I value and respect her opinions more.  We don’t always agree on things, but she is much more comfortable in committing to the things we decide and I feel very comfortable helping hold her accountable to those things.  Almost as if I have earned the right in her eyes.

Turns out that building more accountability actually requires a lot of humility. 

It doesn’t require more discipline as much as it requires inclusion and thoughtfulness.  It takes valuing and desiring the input and opinions of others.  When those things are present, accountability becomes easier for everyone.

Again, I should expect that the people I pay would do the job I pay them to do whether they like it or not and it shouldn’t require any accountability from me.  But that is the premise that most of us have operated under for a long time.  

And how is that working for us?

I am interested in teams finding a higher level of success and finding it faster.  We can either do the painstaking work that inclusion and building buy-in requires with the team, or bang our heads against the wall in frustration later on.  

Not understanding and addressing these five dysfunctions found in most teams is what keeps us from the success we desire.


  • Does your team struggle with accountability?
  • Do you naturally assume that it is your fault for not holding them accountable enough?
  • Are you really committed enough to the idea of building accountability that you're willing to address the root causes of its' absence?  
  • Are you ready to embark on an owner-to-team conversion that will naturally address all of this?