The Power of Accountability
There’s something that happens when people take personal accountability for their mistakes – something not only within them, but something for the people around them who might have lost some trust for that person or organization.
Today’s political climate offers nothing but a lack of accountability but recently, I went to a forum, where a company whose pretty big mistake likely cost non-profit organizations across the US millions in a nation-wide event– Seeds of Grace was a part of that event. The situation was the Kitsap Great Give and there were hundreds of communities participating in similar such events on May 3, 2016.
The organization that processed all of the donations crashed for the first 18 hours of the event. Many donors were frustrated as were many NPOs. We were lucky in our region, because our frustration was met with information… Our own, Kitsap Community Foundation, the entity in charge of the event, was able to keep all of us directors and board members in the know – even if it was simply, “we don’t know, but we are confident we will soon” messaging.
Kimbia, the organization whose giving platform we were using to receive our donations had a forum that I attended. I was truly impressed by the level of executives who came to tell us about the problem and how they were dealing with it – AND how they own the mistake. I am grateful that the CEO, the Vice President of Community Giving and the Chief Technical Officer all took time out of their lives to come and be accountable to us – a group of non-profit directors and board members which range from very small, like Seeds of Grace, to very large, like United Way.
We have no way of knowing whether or not we would have gained any more donations… many organizations are convinced that the snafu caused several of their donors to give up on giving… I am not convinced of that, because once Kimbia got everything fixed, they extended the giving for an additional 24 hours! Many organizations made the best of that – I know WE did!
There are a couple of truths in this life that I have taught my kids, and I live by myself:
1. When you are wrong, apologize with an explanation of how you understand what you did (1John 1:9)
a. Example: I’m sorry, I know my words hurt your feelings
2. Then explain how you will do it differently next time (Ephesians 4:29)
a. Example: I used insensitive words, and though my intention was not to hurt you, I see that using those words did. I will not use those words in the future.
3. Finally, ask for forgiveness (Colossians 3:13)
This is why I trust Kimbia to be the giving platform of the Kitsap Great Give in 2017. It was as if they all grew up in my household. We not only got the apology, but we were given information that proved they understood what went wrong, and even took it several steps further and created a process to anticipate failures before they happen… This is not a fail-safe method… there is no failsafe method when we are talking about data and computers and electronics – ANYTHING, really! But this team of executives hit the nail on the head in my book. By their accountability, apology and actions, they have regained my trust.
So, we all make mistakes. We all mess up. How do we deal with them? We can be like today’s political figureheads and deny then throw accusations right back, or we can do what Kimbia did – Admit it, rebuild relationship and move forward. Mark Perkins, the CEO of Kimbia said, “We won’t let this mistake define us”. I would add, “It is the response to mistakes that define us”.