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Communication & Accountability | The Bricks & Mortar To Building A Successful....Anything!

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

“Draw water for the siege, strengthen your defenses! Work the clay, tread the mortar, repair the brickwork!”

Nahum 3:14


“The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks. It was a sturdy house complete with a fine fireplace and chimney. It looked like it could withstand the strongest winds.”

The Three Little Pigs

brick wall, bricks, trowel, greenery in background

(Image credit: Maksim Rumiantsev/Alamy Stock Photo)


Brick and Mortar construction is one of the oldest and most time-tested methods of building out there. The clay-fired brick hasn’t really changed much over the last few thousand years. Brick buildings are known to be long-lasting, weatherproof, age-proof, fireproof, and low maintenance.


Some of those same descriptors I just used also work quite well for the type of relationships that we want to cultivate as leaders. Leading a team of folks that could be described as low-maintenance and not demanding or drama-centric sounds pretty refreshing, right?


Or how about building a long-lasting, weatherproof, and fireproof marriage that can withstand all the harsh trials that life can throw at it? I think we would all agree we could use more of those.


Every day from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed, every single one of us is “building” something.

 

BUILDING BEGINS WITH FUNDEMENTALS


larry bird dribbling
Peyton Manning Throwing a football

Larry Bird and Peyton Manning are two of my favorite athletes of all time. While they may have played different sports, they share very similar traits that made them both great at their craft.


Neither were actually very “athletic” at all, but what they both shared was a passion for the fundamentals and a hunger to be the best at them. This led them both to put countless hours into studying film, taking jump shots, and knowing where every guy on the court or field was at all times.


The dogged focus on these fundamentals gave them both elite level court and field vision. They could see the game more clearly than their opponents and because of these traits, it allowed them to execute at an extremely high level.


This made both of them a complete nightmare for opposing teams to deal with. It also allowed both of them to lead their teams to multiple championships and both men are now in basketball and football halls of fame respectively.


Leadership is no different. While I agree that it takes many positive traits to make a good leader (vision, planning, executing, inspiring, etc.) we tend to want to focus on those things before we have the foundational skills that it takes to be an elite leader solidified.


If one were to build a house, you couldn’t add the roof or windows before you laid the foundation and put up the walls, right?


Not starting off with a solid foundation only causes issues and frustration down the line.


You will never inspire anyone, be able to execute your vision, or “build” anything as a leader until you learn how to communicate effectively and hold both yourself and others accountable.

As I progressed in my career and grew as a leader, I started noticing that two specific traits stood out to me and were directly tied to how good, or bad leaders and teams performed. Of course, you guessed it, the two traits I noticed were communication (bricks) and accountability (mortar).


Those leaders and teams that thrived and operated at a high level exhibited a high degree of accountability and communicated exceptionally well. The other side of the coin was also true, the teams and leaders that did not perform well in these areas struggled; some epically so.


I also noticed the application of these two items was very proportional to a team or leader's success or demise.


Teams that did pretty well in these categories but not exceptionally so, (let's just use a good old fashioned grading scale), were a “B” grade if you will, and had “B” results. The teams that were hit and miss 50/50 had “C” results and so on.


The “F”’s of the world create a level of dysfunction and chaos that borders on impressive if it wasn’t so detrimentally destructive. If you have ever been a part of one of these teams, you might be wincing and nodding your head as you conjure up images of what I hope is the past.


Some of you may have been on or lead the “A” team right now and if so, how rewarding is that?!


Either way, the fact is inescapable: how well you communicate and hold both yourself and others accountable is directly tied to how successful you will be.

 

SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE


As I began to realize the correlation between these things, my view was limited to that of the working world.


While I started off with the “business only” lens snapped into my monocle, over time I started to notice that these same principles extended far beyond just work.


When I flipped this switch in my brain and started looking at things from that broader perspective, I found that these two tenets are so intricately woven into almost every aspect of our daily lives, and in what we do, I was quite honestly dumbfounded at how I never noticed it before.


As I began making these two principles a normal part of my thought process, I started to notice that we as human beings are constantly put into situations where the outcome of that situation will be directly tied to how well (or poorly) these two traits are executed.


I quickly began to realize that good communication and accountability really were the foundational building blocks to pretty much....anything.

Want to have a good marriage? It's pretty hard to do that if you don't communicate.

Want to be a good leader, pastor, athlete, whatever? You had better operate with a high degree of personal accountability. Want to be a good teacher, coach, parent, etc.? You better be willing to engage in some uncomfortable conversations and hold others accountable. Want to start your own company??


I think you get the gist….


 

CHANGING THE WAY YOU SEE COMMUNICATION & ACCOUNTABILITY


The goal of this article is to help flip the switch in YOUR brain, so you start focusing on these two areas and make them a naturally occurring part of your everyday thought process.


I assure you that once you start to do this and then respond accordingly, you WILL become a highly functioning, successful leader. Plus, you will also help mentor other highly functioning, successful leaders which is incredibly rewarding.

Over the next few weeks, try to examine your world through these two lenses. Look at the root causes of things that happen around you, either good or bad.


If you do, you will see the world in a new light and realize just what I mean, and you will begin to see why it’s so critically important to get these two areas right and just how interwoven into our human existence these two fundamentals are.


 

You can be like little pigs one and two, who built with straw and sticks, but my suggestion is to be like three and build with lots of bricks....


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