The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
Is accountability the enemy of collegiality?

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

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      By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      During an interview with Kevin Eastman, former assistant coach to Doc Rivers for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics, he shared his insights on the concept of accountability.

      David: "One of the things I've been talking about for years for financial advisory teams is the need to recognize that telling the truth and calling teammates out to make them accountable does not have to translate into a loss of a collegial environment. Can you give us your take on that as it relates to culture and the culture of truth-telling?"

      Kevin: "I agree that there can be a strain between accountability and collegiality. But I think it's possible for accountability and collegiality to coexist if the culture of the organization is based on the ability to build trusting, respectful relationships."

      "My definition of accountability is that I will take ownership of my actions, words, mistakes and failures. It's easy to say 'OK, I made a mistake. So, let me blame somebody.' But accountability is all about ownership. As leaders, we can't hold those we lead accountable unless the accountability is preceded by clarity. If there's no clarity and someone we lead makes a mistake, I believe as a leader, that's my fault, not theirs."

      David: "How does the concept of accountability play out into the concept of a team?"

      Kevin: "A team is made up of individuals who are each given a specific role. Your role may not be what you ultimately aspire to, but the role we've given you is the role we think you should play to win a championship or help our organization reach its goals. Having said that, you must be accountable for your role, whatever that is. Part of that accountability is being willing to help others when called upon."

      David: "So, what you're saying is that accountability doesn't have to be the enemy of collegiality. In fact, if you build a culture of trust, respect and clarity, accountability can be the strongest ally of collegiality."

      Kevin: "Yes, that's right. Because I sure hope that my teammate has my best interests at heart and he's going to tell me when I'm going astray. He's going to tell me the truth and help me get back on track. Because then, I can reach my true potential and fulfill my dreams."

      Bottom line: It's possible to have both accountability and collegiality when you create a culture that supports truth, respect and accountability.

      For more thoughts from Kevin Eastman, follow him on Twitter @kevineastman. If you would be interested in having Kevin Eastman speak to your company, visit kevineastman.net.