Engagement Without Accountability Creates Entitlement

Cy Wakeman says, “Engagement without accountability creates entitlement.” There’s a lot of places to apply her logic. We can break it down:


Engagement asks, “What are we doing?” Accountability asks, “How will we measure it?”


Whenever there’s engagement without accountability, we find entitlement. Entitlement is unearned credit. Sometimes it’s dumb luck, sometimes it’s ignorance, and sometimes it’s arrogance. Conversely, engagement with accountability produces results with a sense of accomplishment. We can and should feel a sense of pride in earned credit and doing good work.


Wakeman’s logic applies to work and life. Entitlement will drag a culture down. By focusing on engagement and accountability we can avoid the trap of “you do this for me” in favor of “I’ll do this with you.”

It applies to clients too. Value arises where people see the work they are paying for. They don’t have to deeply understand it (“you’re the expert”), but they have to engage with it to award accountability.


Never underestimate the communal power of doing good work together. We aren’t playing to claim entitlements, we’re playing to claim titles.

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