Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Accountability and the problem of advertising

I am coming to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to make a session on accountability sound energizing or fun or engaging. Accountability is an ugly word for a concept that people find hard to trust. It too often means being punished for not giving more than 100% or pulling a miracle out of an overcrowded desktop.

Account-ability. The ability to tell a story or demonstrate the costs and benefits of an influence or action. The ability to trace the difference that one person makes. The ability to own what you have done.

Actually, it doesn't sound so bad. Dangerous - yes. Edgy - often. But. . . meaningful, even purposeful.

The ability to trace the difference that one person makes. Even in - especially in - the kind of organizations that tend to muzzle or dwarf or overwhelm individuals. Even in - especially in - the kind of organizations that are so big or so small it seems impossible that one person could make a difference.

Account-ability. To give an account is to tell a story. As human beings, we are born telling stories. We are born to give words to the existence that slips through us and past us. We are each account-able for the unwinding of our own lives.

Account-able.

Story able. Effect able. Change able.

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