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How Accountability Elevates Performance on the Field and in the Life.

Despite having so much access to so much information and to each other, the world/the youth have gone quiet. How can we bring traditional values of performance back? By bringing people together again. In small, intimate, goal oriented arenas.

London Olympics Silver Medal Rowing
How Accountability Elevates Performance

I fell in love with rowing the first time I got in a boat, but what drove me to take it as far as I did?

My answer is twofold.

  1. I was motivated and driven by the progress I made. I was encouraged by the relationship between the work I put in and my improvements.

  2. My team. Showing up for others and being a part of something bigger got me out of bed.

More than the medal, more than the Olympics, rowing with a crew and reaching our collective potential became the driving force. From the moment in 2001 when I first sat in a boat and was challenged with keeping it upright to my last World Cup race in March of 2013. It wasn’t just about the rowing itself. It was always about doing something bigger than myself, showing up for myself as well as my teammates.

When I try to explain my motivation for the sport I have answered the same thing hundreds of times because the answer has never changed for me. It was always about the people. Rowing was about chasing something bigger than myself. It is challenging, but the real trick is to get in sync with others and be willing to sacrifice, compromise and have your “hands in the fire” with 1-8 other people at any given time in a crew. I personally was not meant to scull in a single for long periods of time. It was too lonely. For me, the single it was nothing other than a vehicle to make it into a crew and or to get faster to make a crew go faster. I loved the concept and feel of a team!

London Olympics Silver Medal Rowing
Krista and Rachelle sharing a moment on the dock post silver medal.

In the world outside of sport and in the workplace there are more moving parts. Everyone in the office isn’t working for a podium finish. What I have observed is that people seem detached and apt to avoid communication versus lean into it.

I get it. Everyone has different priorities and complicated layers to their lives outside of work, but regardless of this you need communication, consistency and for people to show up to make anything happen. So how do we do that?

  1. Don't just bring people together, BRING them together. Share experiences and goals build camaraderie and willingness to show up for one another.

  2. Responsibility within the team breeds accountability.


Setting realistic, measurable goals for work and life is important. These stepping-stones may seem mundane but are crucial in achieving success. The goals can be individual or team-oriented and should be achievable within a short period to keep everyone engaged. Success and support towards these goals are motivating and will keep everyone focused on performance.

Accountability, respect, communication, and integrity are crucial for successful teamwork. Communication of expectations and the reason behind them is essential. Being punctual and valuing everyone's presence is vital. Careless tardiness sends a message that it is acceptable, which is not conducive to high performance. Small gestures like being punctual communicate that you are ready to show up and it matters, which is what champions do.

Now if this video doesn't fire you up to go for that inch, than I don't know what will! Kevin Light (click here to see his photography) made this and it is still one of my favourite rowing videos. Get ready to be fired up!


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