Hard to define, easy to recognize

Accountability and commitment are terms that face becoming buzz words. If you do a google search you will find hundreds of different definitions of each word. The same search also brings up even more consulting firms that each guarantee their approach or model will develop employees who are committed to change and create accountability in organizations.

Despite this confusion and ambiguity we recognize that successful change requires both commitment and accountability. While hard to define, committed individuals are easy to recognize and accountability becomes clear in how they act. I want to share a powerful example I just experienced that I believe can help us define commitment and accountability. Obama

Over the past week I had the privilege and opportunity to attend the 2014 West Point cadet graduation ceremony and participate in an officer’s commissioning for a new graduate. President Obama gave the commencement speech but what was more impressive to me was the picture of commitment and accountability these graduates demonstrated.

Group gradsTo become leaders these cadets had to complete a  demanding training program and an intense educational experience that required persistence combined with an overwhelming greater purpose, or commitment. In addition, to be commissioned as an officer and a leader, they willingly accept responsibility for the lives of the people on their team and in our country. They take accountability to do what they know they should do and take responsibility for the outcomes.

Over the next month Anita, Dee Anne and I will share ideas and resources that leaders in higher education can use to build accountability and commitment in our institutions and our people. The definitions can be murky at times but experiencing true commitment and strong accountability leads to amazing success! West Point grads


Todd Thorsgaard


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