Scott Burrows

Scott Burrows, Leadership and Accountability Keynote Speaker

What Do You Ask of Others That You Don’t Demand of Yourself?


As a keynote speaker on leadership and accountability, I have found that in terms of all the issues causing C-level executives to struggle, far and away, “accountability” is their biggest challenge. Leadership cannot survive without accountability in their organizations.

Business writer Shannon Howard, in a recent article “Holding employees accountable: where most leaders fail,” stated that C-level executives are often “not accountable for their own behaviors or deadlines.” She expanded that point by saying “When leaders fail to meet deadlines themselves, they’re not modeling the kind of behavior they want to see from their team. Let’s be honest: It’s hard to hold someone to a standard you’re not willing to hold yourself to.”

Accountability cannot be sporadic; it must be specific and consistent.  If a leader is inconsistent, the leader is holding employees to a relative standard, which is often like having no standard at all.  In fact, studies have determined that about 15 percent of CEOs keep ineffective employees on staff for far too long. In the long run, ineffective employees who refuse to be held accountable will damage the entire organization.

Echoing this sentiment, Joseph Folkman, writing for Forbes magazine said “Sometimes in organizations, it is really hard to focus. When we are sending multiple messages about what is critical and what others are accountable for, accountability dissipates. If you want people to be responsible, then you must clearly define the results that you want them to deliver, and let them have a fair amount of control on how they deliver those results.”

It all comes around to having the determination to hold yourself accountable and the vision to see it through.

Holding Yourself Accountable

New York Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi writing for Success magazine, outlines several steps of accountability that any executive as well as individuals can incorporate into their daily lives.

To summarize the steps: Create a schedule for what you want to accomplish, stop procrastinating and commit to it.

Set better goals: what are the goals specifically, how will you measure them, can you reach them and in what time-frame? Are your goals relevant to your success or are they unimportant?

Are you determined to be uncomfortable? Seriously, if you share the specific plan with those who will carry it out, there can be no equivocation on your part or theirs. If there is no vision of success, if there is no day-to-day grit in doing what must be done, then chances are it won’t get done.

Don’t forget about honesty and authenticity in this accountability equation. Be a leader and ask questions: can you achieve these goals, who will be responsible to get it done, how will we know if we are accomplishing what we had the vision to complete?

The objective for any leader is to demand of others no more or less than what you demand of yourself. Accountability is a shared vision of success. If everyone is held to the same standard of accountability, then accomplishment will follow.

Do you have the determination to lead and to hold those around you accountable? If you have that vision, expect that greatness may very well be the outcome.


Book Scott Burrows today, Leader and Accountability Motivational Speaker, through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

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