Winning Words

The power of accountability

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 2/2/21

Accountability is one of those words that gets a lot of attention; however, it also receives a fair amount of avoidance. I mean it’s great when we can hold others accountable for doing what they …

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Winning Words

The power of accountability


Accountability is one of those words that gets a lot of attention; however, it also receives a fair amount of avoidance. I mean it’s great when we can hold others accountable for doing what they say they will do and then actually getting it done; but when it’s time for others to hold us accountable, well, let’s just slow down a bit and talk this whole thing over. Accountable? I don’t need anyone holding me accountable.

It does seem like there is a lot of conversation these days about accountability. We hear things like, “Why isn’t anyone being held accountable for that?”

If we can get ourselves past the macro view of accountability and focus on the micro view, meaning our own personal accountability, we will be able to accomplish more, feel better about what we achieve, and put some of the enjoyment back in our lives. Enjoyment that may have been lost while we were too busy concentrating on what others are “not” doing.

Over the years I have developed a huge sense of appreciation for accountability. I have also embraced the idea of accountability partners. I would like to share five of my accountability partners with you. These are people in my life who have absolutely helped me achieve success in many areas where I am always seeking improvement.

My fitness accountability partner happens to be my wife Kim. She holds me accountable for many other things too. We are accountability partners for each other when it comes to what we eat, how much water we drink, and making sure that we get our workouts in each day. The gains that we have both seen in the past few months have been incredible.

When it comes to faith, my good friend Mark Foley and I have been accountability partners for many years. Every day, without fail, we participate in a Bible study and a devotional. We share our intimate reactions and thoughts. And we typically do this the first thing in the morning. This accountability sets the tone for the day and grounds us in the truth.

There is another friend whom I have known for 20 years. We speak almost every single night and have done so since the pandemic started. Our calls include catching up on the events of the day, but we also make sure we talk about specific business activities, behaviors, prospects, and customer interactions. I call John Vanderslice on the odd number days of the month and he calls me on the even days of the month. His knowledge and practicality are so valued, and if I try to avoid the details of my day, he digs in and holds me accountable to talk through it.

Frank Singer is my accountability partner in so many incredible ways, as we have walked the same road in life. Long before the pandemic, we would speak often. Frank’s presence in my life has always reminded me to hold myself accountable for the blessings and appreciation of true friendship. Frank and I have spoken almost every single day since the pandemic as well. And whether it’s Frank holding me accountable, or me holding him accountable, to have a brief call every day reminds us both of the necessity and value of friendship.

Lastly, I will share with you my accountability partner and my voice of reason and truth. Tom Ziglar has an amazing capacity to understand situations for what they really are. We are partners, we have been co-workers, friends, and we are brothers. When the world looks like a maze that I am trying to navigate and feeling a bit lost, Tom will always hold me accountable bringing me back to reality.

Five accountability partners, one for each: fitness and more, faith, business, friendship, and for keeping things real.

How about you? Is there a chance that you can benefit from a little bit of accountability? I would love to hear your story at, and when we have the right amount of accountability in our lives, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

Michael Norton


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