3 Steps Toward Accountability

When was the last time you did something you knew was wrong? 


For some of you, it might take you a minute to think of that moment. I’m trying to be more like you, but I still stumble through life on occasion. 

But I’m not really interested in what you did wrong. I want to know this: How were you accountable after that moment?


We make mistakes in real estate all the time. Whether it is something simple like calling the wrong person on the phone to talk about listings, or something more urgent like missing signatures on a document, we occasionally let go of our processes and systems — those tried and true methods of reliability — and miss our mark.

But the biggest mistake we can make is not using these moments to improve what we do as real estate professionals, business owners, and individuals. Improvement requires accountability. To do better, you have to recognize what didn’t work, taking responsibility for your actions and their consequences. Personal accountability for what goes wrong is also what will help you take proper action to achieve desired outcomes. 


With that in mind, here are three steps to use when navigating through a mistake and choosing to be accountable.


1. Recognize that the worst part already happened. 

I’ve got bad news for you that is actually good news. The bad news is that a bad thing happened. The good news is that’s as bad as it gets. But what does it mean for your business?

As you are negotiating a purchase, you forgot to attach a rider to the contract. Yikes! But remember this: you already forgot — you don’t have to suffer because you remembered that an important piece of the negotiation puzzle is missing. Instead...


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2. Reevaluate your process to rectify the error.

You have identified the missing part of the contract, but awareness alone doesn’t get that rider attached to the contract. It’s time to do the work to rectify the error. Who needs to be informed? What needs to be done? Work together with the other agent and their party to figure out what needs to be done to right the wrong. 


But go beyond fixing the mistake. Be accountable to your client and your responsibilities as an agent by going deeper into your systems. What was missed? Is there someone missing from the process? Clients now and in the future are counting on you to help them work through a real estate transaction — make your processes as air-tight and as error-proof as possible.


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3. Trust everyone to do their work well.

One part of accountability comes from recognizing how a mistake occurred and then making sure that your systems and processes are in place. Another part is that you may not have all of the answers.

After you steer the negotiation back on track, update your system along the way, and close the sale, it’s time to ask your team — what did we miss? Where can I move or remove barriers? How can I help us all succeed?

If you find yourself in the middle of a mistake, remember that the worst thing has already happened, rectify your mistake, and reevaluate. To err is human, but to be accountable is divine.