Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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Oh no! What now?

Last week, we celebrated Independence Day in the United States! I hope you had a thrilling and safe celebration. In keeping with the theme of the time, we explored the concept of independence. Specifically, what enables and sustains the pursuit! You may read more at The Unforeseen Gift of Freedom – BLOG – www.akesatia.com


Why bother?

After waving the independence banner and contemplating prior learnings in our earlier series on what is required to thrive, I stopped in my tracks – mentally, not physically – of course!
Subsequently, I pondered an essential question: To what end? – All this hard work to grow is exhausting and never seems to end! Rather than racking my brain, I could aim to spend the rest of my days lounging on a beach in the Mediterranean Sea with no deep thoughts or cares. I am game for that! Then suddenly, like a moth to a flame, I rose from the daydream and remembered that residing on a white sandy beach by crystal clear waters sounds blissful. But, perpetually lounging also leads to a questionable existence.

Perhaps as you read the line above, you are thinking: Aké speak for yourself! Growing up is hard to do! There always seems to be more to learn, and when others come around with their drama, it does not help! Admittedly, these gripes are understandable and increase in saltiness when we begin to form judgments about how others are contributing to our many discomforts. However, we cannot discuss individual satisfaction and well-being without considering what we expect from others. To better understand this, let us examine a highly used word in professional and interpersonal relationships called accountability!


Accountability – defined!

For a while, the word accountability made my stomach turn. Because I often heard people refer to accountability with a most peculiar phrase: a throat to choke! You may have heard this idiom before! When I first heard it, a leader was referring to an employee, and my first thought was, Why the aggression? What kind of business are we running here? In the workplace, I also discovered that holding one accountable was often synonymous with shaming the individual. Such as one humiliating and discrediting an employee for not delivering the results one expected. Or in terminating their employment unceremoniously. Unfortunately, many are familiar with such treatment. Given my uneasiness, I resolved to comprehend and grasp more beneficial ways of articulating the value known as accountability. Fortunately, I did not have to look far!

  • Accountability is:
    – Full responsibility and ownership of results and consequences of actions. Cambridge Dictionary
    – A foundation for a culture of trust, cooperation, and responsibility. Zippia
    – Acceptance of responsibility for honest and ethical conduct towards others. And a willingness to be judged on performance. Investopedia
    Explanation or justification for money given or received. (Late 14 century). Online Etymology Dictionary

As you scanned the definitions above, you may have thought: That sounds unrealistic! Who can do all of that? Or perhaps, you thought, accountability comes down to honesty and decency. – If you make a mistake, own it! Well, that sounds simple enough! If only it were so easy to practice! In actuality, it is often quite demanding to be accountable.


Misdeeds and Judgments

Consider familiar scenarios such as sticky fingers and white lies!
Have you ever walked out of your office building with company swag meant for future new hires and taken it home with no intention of returning it? Then, the following day, when a leader mentions that the swag supply is rapidly depleting, you stare at her with a puzzled and innocent look. Or perhaps you sleep in and stroll into a 9:30 am meeting at 10 am on Monday while narrating a lengthy tale about traffic and distracted drivers on the freeway. – Like the highway is not always congested on Monday during rush hour! 😉

Many of us have likely seen others respond in such ways. Or we may have responded like this ourselves. – Unsurprisingly, we may find it easier to justify and defend such behavior when we commit it. In such instances, we commit offenses, rationalize our behavior, and let ourselves off the hook. However, our leniency rapidly decreases when others are in the hot seat. In such cases, we are often quick to criticize, label, and pronounce a harsh judgment. While this reaction might appear natural, it can be detrimental. Because how we judge others and perceive our right to do so impacts our ability to be accountable.
Therefore, the worthwhile question is: What enables accountability? Or what helps us and others to accept responsibility for our actions and fully own the results and consequences?
And we will explore this further next time.

Until then!

For you and to you,



Image credit: Pexels | Nicola Barts



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