During a recent weekend event I watched multiple teams of creators pitching products to a group of judges, with the hope of being the next big thing. Through out the presentations one key thing stood out to me in several of their presentations … a lack of accountability … or at the very least that was my perception.

To understand this we first must understand what accountability is, and what does it mean to be accountable.

Accountability is:

  • … taking responsibility before the fact, rather than after the fact.
  • … taking a stand, and standing by it.
  • … when those who are accountable are right, take credit.
  • … when those who are accountable are wrong, take the blame.

Now you have a basic understanding of what accountability means; let me explain my perception. Throughout the presentations there was a common thread amongst several of the teams.

During each phase certain teams could be heard muttering things like; “I didn’t have time to make it the way I wanted”, “I couldn’t find any information about {item}” and “We weren’t ready”, “The team wasn’t committed” and several others. This was even more prevalent when handfuls of these same teams used those responses when queried by the judges. Let me be perfectly clear, this mindset was held only by a handful of groups, most certainly not the norm however as negativity goes it has the potential to be toxic and grow.

It is that growth potential I want to nip in the bud now.

Remember the old saying, “No matter if you succeed or fail in life, it’s your fault.”, never is this more true than during a challenge of entrepreneurial wit. The less excuses you have, the closer you are to success in whatever area of endeavor you are involved in.

Let’s look closer at some of the feedback:

  • “Didn’t have Time” – More often than not when working on a project for either yourself or a client the timeline has been clearly established. This goes for the recent challenge event as well, each team was provided a timeline for the event as well as how long they had to work on each component. Time management is key here and may have solved or at the very least helped the teams understand what they could create and how to use that time to its fullest.
  • “The people on my team are not really committed.” – We all make people mistakes or set expectations too high. So you made some bad partner decisions. Now is the time to face up to these issues and reset your expectations or move out the people who don’t fit. The sooner it’s done, the happier you all will be.
  • “I’m not sure what you mean, the people we talked to loved it” – This my friends is fake traction and I see too often early stage founders and creators get trapped within it. This happens when only highlighting what looks good and effectively hiding what looks bad. A great example I hear all too often; “everyone we talked with thinks our idea is great / awesome / incredible and want one as soon as they are ready.” However when I ask how many people they have spoken with the answer is normally below ten to which my response is, “I think we need a bigger sample.”.
  • Consider any situation in your life: is there something for which you can be accountable? If you feel that you are at the mercy of something bigger than you, think again. What was your part in getting or allowing the situation to become that way?

    Can you “own” the steps you took or didn’t take that got you there?

    How might you make better choices and more appropriate responses to life’s circumstances?

    After all, you are the only person responsible for your own actions. Be aware of the impact you make–and stand up for doing the right thing.

    While there are quite literally a thousand places you could go to read more about why excuses shouldn’t stop your creative flow, I have one that I personally recommend by Stephen Key, cofounder of InventRight.

    The title sums it right up 5 Excuses That Shouldn’t Stop You From Bringing Your Ideas to Life