There’s something about being told what to do that evokes those parental voices we all rebel against. As a younger man, I would bristle when someone told me what to do or even gave input on what I was doing.
It’s like I couldn’t help myself. Later in life, I bought into that adage, “there is wisdom in counsel,” even though I would still tighten up when advice and accountability came my way.
Why is it we struggle with accountability when there’s so much wisdom around us? Wisdom will get us what we want and need, if we just listen and allow input into our lives. I think it’s a wound we all carry.
I’ve found that there’s a correlation between how insecure a person is and their inability to take counsel, criticism, and correction – or even to be checked on. (Tweet it!)
The higher the insecurity, the more the person rejects accountability.
Someone reading this might ask: “why are you getting into all this personal analysis and looking into childhood behavior, etc.? Isn’t the major gifts thing just about doing the right planning and moves?”
No, it isn’t. On the front end, it’s about planning, goal setting, and strategy. But it’s also about structuring what you do in a disciplined way, and then maintaining the will actually to do it.
In our work, Jeff and I and our colleagues regularly encounter resistance to accountability. It’s the single most frequent reason a MGO fails at their job – they don’t stick to the good plan they wrote. And when they depart from that plan, they resist being held accountable to get back on course.
I could produce pages and pages of real-life situations where MGOs and managers let accountability slide in their major gift work. And the most often cited reasons are “I really don’t think it’s needed” or “I just don’t have the time to do it” or “there was something more important I needed to do.” So the MGO resists expending the effort required to get back on track with what he or she knows needs to be done.
If you’re reading this, and you’re “off-plan” with any of your caseload donors, stop and ask yourself – “why am I?” Maybe it’s because you don’t value the plan you’ve written for your donors, or something else has grabbed your attention. Or someone (like your manager or accountability partner) has told you that you need to get back on track, and you’re resisting that call to accountability.
If that is happening, don’t let your ego and those voices govern what you should do. Instead, remember that there is nothing more important in your job than to be working the plan you’ve written – and then exercising discipline to stay on track with what you know you should be doing.