Sometimes a photograph stops you in your tracks and challenges you to re-examine your beliefs. That was the case with the image in my blog header. It is a common merganser and her brood of 76 chicks photographed recently on a lake in Minnesota. It was an extraordinary sighting that captured the imagination of bird lovers and everyday folks alike. How was this Mama able to take care of such a large flock while remaining seemingly stoic and unflustered? That's taking on some serious responsibility. That is one accountable duck.
It's a fitting image to dig into August's consideration of "Accountability." Webster's definition is: "an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility." I've been thinking a lot about "accountability" lately, especially as it relates to nonprofit governance. When we accept an invitation to join a board, do we fully embrace the fundamental legal duties of "care, loyalty and obedience?" More importantly, have these expectations been clearly communicated in a job description prior to our accepting of the board position? Sometimes it's a good idea to simply revisit the rules.
Moving from the professional to the personal, how can we move accountability closer to home? Are we meeting our obligations to our own families and friends? Have we clearly stated what they are and if so, are we following through on promises we've made? Moving into a higher state of self awareness about our own accomplishments or shortcomings is a fine and genuine starting point. Using curiosity as a tool to examine how we behave and checking in with self and trusted others can be a safe place to begin. And what better time than right now?
Begin with a short, specific list of three ways you want to be more accountable in August and check back in at the end of the month. I'll be doing the same.