What do you think of when you hear the word “Accountability?”

Do thoughts of shame, pressure, or exposure come to mind? What about discipline or direction?

Do you hold your team accountable?

Does anyone hold you accountable?

The word “Accountable” means tracking and measuring a set of data or actions (Cusick, 2021). It’s a process of trusting yourself enough to be vulnerable. Without vulnerability, there cannot be accountability.

In Acumen’s monthly council meetings, team members are encouraged to hold each other accountable. For example, in the Front Range Region, President and Growth Catalyst Steve Van Diest discussed the three C’s of accountability with his Summit Team. “My hope is that you all move through the three C’s with each other, not just me. What you have to offer each other is far beyond me. That’s the power of our Acumen Council Team.” 

There are three types of accountability Michael John Cusick mentions in his Restoring the Soul podcast. Each type has a qualitative difference in motivation and goal.

Cop Accountability

Motivation: Checking in.

Example: “How are you doing?”

Think of a law enforcement officer. If a cop pulls a person over for speeding and the person is unaware of how fast they were going, it is the cop’s duty to let the driver know that if they continue speeding, they will get a ticket.

Goal: The idea is that if the person being held accountable knows there is a negative consequence, it will prevent them from doing it in the first place. Cusick says to focus on loving the person and offering it as redemptive rather than fear-based. This isn’t the shame game. You aren’t trying to catch your team doing something wrong.

If you’re the cop, start with a conversation instead of handing out tickets.

Coach Accountability

Motivation: Building in.

Example: “How can I come alongside you to help you achieve your goals?”

Think about a coach’s role on a sports team. They are helping train players to work harder and provide strategies and insight to win the game.

Goal: Coach accountability occurs when the person held accountable has come to terms with their issue and is committed to the process. The coach is there to inspire and provide tools to help the player improve.

As the coach, you move closer to the heart, dialing in focus and mindset and measuring actions and activities.

Cardiac Accountability

Motivation: Digging in.

Example: How’s your heart?”

Have you ever felt how a scene in a movie can take over your heart when you have a connection to the story? That deep connection you feel is how cardiac accountability works.

Goal: Digging deep with a profound presence of caring to help the person live more freely. Cusick mentions the language of the heart is connection and depth. There is an intentional relationship where the accountability partner is there to care for the person’s heart and soul.

We’re not talking about sitting in a circle holding hands and singing kumbaya. This is practical (and human!). Cardiac accountability is the caring that makes your team feel heard and known.

Turn Accountability into Accessibility

Real accountability leads to accessibility. Whether you are the cop, coach, or cardiologist in the relationship, you start to have access to what’s happening inside the other person. Keep these levels of accountability relational and see how your team transforms. “Communicate, reach out, and express your needs, wants, and questions,” says Van Diest.

There’s a time and a place for all three of these levels of accountability. As mentioned in FETCH, remind the person you are there for them, not against them.

Where does your team need more accountability? Which C will help you get the best from them?



Cusick, Michael. (2021). “From Accountability to Accessibility.” Restoring the Soul, Apple Podcast. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-196-michael-john-cusick-from-accountability/id1120914952?i=1000537964068





Elizabeth Shandy
Post by Elizabeth Shandy
May 5, 2022
Elizabeth Shandy graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelors in Public Relations. In addition, she received her Masters in Leadership from Grantham University. Her deep passion for leadership came from her role as a peer advisor for nontraditional and military students while studying for her Masters. Elizabeth is the Growth Marketing Specialist enhancing our brand awareness, content management and supporting regional and team marketing. She has several years of marketing experience as well as skillsets in recruiting and advising. Her favorite thing about being part of our marketing team is getting to make a creative impact every day. She has several certificates in digital marketing including social media, graphic design, sales support, and content management. Elizabeth and her husband, Nick, have one daughter and attend Prince of Peace. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring wineries, crafting, playing keyboard, and spending time with her friends and family.