Leadership & Accountability

Founder and CEO Jacqui Abrams recently shared the following with Meaningful Milestones team.

As we often teach our clients, sometimes things go together like hamburgers and hot dogs. The same can be said for leadership and accountability.  

What is accountability and why is it so hard?

There are a few definitions out there for accountability, but the one I like the most comes from Jacob M. Engel, written in a Linkedin article. “Accountability is a mindset, a way of thinking where results matter and the leader is personally invested in the outcome that he is responsible for… and leaders take this very seriously. The accountability mindset is infused into everything a leader does and orients the leader toward accomplishing his desired intent. If you aspire to be a leader, embrace accountability because when you’re accountable, you can be counted on to get results – the hallmark of a great leader.”

As organizational leaders, the level of accountability increases on your shoulders because you become successful for the success or failure of an organization, which includes taking care of staff, managing organization resources appropriately and producing bottom line results.

This is an area that we are all growing into as Meaningful Milestones grows.  I will be the first to admit that last year, 2021, I didn’t do the best job holding everyone accountable and our bottom line shows that, which is why I have made it a priority for 2022.  The year 2022 will forever be known as “the year of no nonsense” for myself personally as well as professionally.  I am declaring now my dedication to you all by pushing myself each day to be better at holding all of us accountable for ensuring we are successful.  Will I mess up? Of course, I will – I am after all human!! But I am surrounded by a team of amazing professionals (and friends) that I know will give me the grace and pick me up where I feel I have failed.

Small blocks with numbers 2022

Accountability can be tough, especially when you have us S (DiSC reference) people thinking we are big and bad and you D and C individuals don’t even hear it as a directive.  Over the last 4 months I have seen a lot of growth in everyone, those of us that are S’s are finding ways to ensure that we are heard and I’ve seen those D and C people ask for clarification if it’s a directive or a recommendation. 

Over the course of the next year, I know we will continue to grow and find the tips and tricks that work.  For example, remember when Uncle Russell came and taught us all a lot of amazing tools and one of them, he mentioned was his wife always touches his arm when she needs him to pay attention to what she’s about to say.  I’ve used this with one or two of you, and it has worked amazingly!  We just have to find the cues that work to allow all of us to hold each other accountable.

Now, you may be thinking, as the CEO, who keeps me accountable.  That’s easy – EVERYONE! No really, I mean it, each of you, every staff member, every client, every family, every contractor, every insurance company, and every member of the community. There is a lot of accountability around for me too.

Blurry background, focus on word accountable

I was having a conversation with Beth about the Hanley approach shortly after we saw Hanley. He talks a lot about the trauma that our clients experience throughout their lives and how he wants to provide trauma-assumed care. We then started talking about staff and how they also experience trauma, and we wondered if there was a trauma-informed/assumed leadership methodology out there that we could embrace alongside the trauma-assumed care for our clients.

After a lot of research, there is sadly, very little available on this topic, but I refuse to give up; therefore, I am going to be spending some time diving into different resources to share with you in the upcoming weeks to help guide us towards trauma-informed leadership.

The transition to POPS (People Operations) is a HUGE first step in this movement and we have made leaps and strides transitioning Damian’s departments over to accommodate this change.  You heard it first at the leadership retreat in October 2021 (or for some you will hear it at our Feb 2022 In-Service), and we hit the ground running in December 2021. The transition to Zenefits is huge and fully supports the transition to trauma-informed leadership. Zenefits is the leading expert on the cutting edge of the POPS front.  Tremendous shout out and applause to the POPS team as they have done a lot of heavy lifting over the last 60 days.  Thank you for your dedication and time towards making this move so that we can make sure we are providing what is best for our staff!

So, while you wait for me to send more information about trauma-informed leadership here are some basic tips to get you started on how to be a more accountable leader:

  • Set the example  – if you expect your direct reports to submit notes per company policy show them that you do the same
  • Understand what you are responsible for
  • Review policies, guidelines, and regulations that relate to your objectives and overall company goals
  • Always deal honestly and fairly with your direct reports
  • When you are wrong, admit it early and often and fix that situation quickly
  • Never try to hide a potential problem; bad problems don’t get better with age, time or fine wine
  • Use goals and to-dos to Zenefits  to be transparent

Beside you on your path,


Jacqui Abrams, M.S., BCBA


Computer, desk, lamp, title graphic for Letter from Jacqui Abrams CEO

One Comment

  1. Jacqui, Thank you for this informative leader letter! I LOVE the idea of 2022 being the Year of No Nonsense- I’m pretty sure I’m going to embrace this myself.
    What really hit home with me was your answer to who holds you accountable- I know I tend to compartmentalize my life into categories, business and personal. Your letter reminds us that leadership is not so much about how we show up in our business, but how we show up as a whole, both personally and professionally.
    Thank you for your insight and … keep up the good work!

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