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It’s all fun and games until someone holds someone accountable. I know that is not how the saying usually goes but I happen to know it’s true from so much personal experience that I wrote a book on the subject. It’s called Villain and it is meant to be an encouragement to those who have the courage to make good leadership decisions at the cost of their personal reputation. Accountability is one of the reasons leaders are often maligned. Holding the team accountable is necessary to build a healthy culture. Culture is decided in the moment that values are tested because either the team is one way or it’s not and if no one is held accountable when a team value is not upheld, then the culture will shift away from that value. However, when the leader decides to hold the team accountable, that moment becomes a teachable moment that reinforces healthy culture. Great leaders understand that moment to be so important that they will sacrifice being liked and become the villain for holding the line on the things that matter most.
Winning is always a matter of will. I remember long battles in one-on-one basketball when I was younger. Every basket was worth one point, we had to win by two and the winner got the ball. It required a tremendous amount of will to win because we were never guaranteed to get the ball back. I remember the battle in my mind that told me to either let my opponent score because I was so exhausted or to fight for just one more chance to score another point. My skill and endurance mattered but my opponent usually matched both so in a close game, the deciding factor was always the will of the mind. Someone had to choose to outlast the other. These games were first to eleven but because of the win by two rule, they were often decided in the thirties. How many times do we give up when we could win if we had the will to outlast our opponent?
Circumstances can seem to line up against us but if we make up our mind to finish regardless of what happens, we will finish. Unfortunately, too many people get caught up in the inconvenience of the grind required to become what the team needs to succeed. When this happens, our minds create all manner of good ideas for why it’s just better to raise the red flag and regroup. These good ideas are nothing but excuses that we make provision for in the back of our mind when we endeavor something mildly difficult. Excuses in the pockets of our mind are readily accessible when something we consider to be inconvenient becomes even more inconvenient. Life is worth living because it takes more than our standard level of comfort and timing to accomplish it.