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What it takes to be personally accountable.

In my personal life I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised by examples I see of a caring mindset. I would like to share one with you.

The best medical professionals stand out as having a caring mindset, but to me no one exemplifies that more than nurses. Their sole purpose is to help their patients, often without any acknowledgment.

Once when I was a patient in a hospital, a nurse came into the room late at night. She assumed I was sleeping. This nurse was as quiet as a mouse. She took the glass of water that was sitting on my tray table, went into the bathroom, washed the glass, rinsed it and then filled it with fresh water.

The next day when I saw her, I asked her why she had done that since the glass was not empty. She told me she always does that to help ensure against infection and assure the well-being of the patients she’s responsible for. It was not hospital policy—it is a heart policy. She took personal responsibility for her patients and she took it very seriously.

Let’s face it. I’d not have noticed if she had not washed the glass. She did not do it to score points with me or anyone else.

This same nurse did many small gestures to make my stay more comfortable. If you have ever had to stay overnight or longer in a hospital, you know that’s a tall order to fill. I let her know how much she contributed to making my stay that much better. This nurse took personal responsibility for my well-being and the quality of my experience.

When I become aware of an issue, whether it is at work or in my community, I consider it as my responsibility to be personally accountable to address it.

If I see a newspaper on my neighbor’s sidewalk and I know he’s not at home, I place it on his porch. Why? It is a simple way to take personal responsibility. It is what a caring mindset is all about.

What have you done to be more personally accountable?

Subir Chowdhury

Subir Chowdhury

One of the world’s pre-eminent experts on quality and process improvements, Subir Chowdhury is the #1 international bestselling author on SIX SIGMA philosophy. Hailed by The New York Times as a “leading Quality expert,” and by Business Week as “the Quality Prophet”, he is the author of 15 books. His latest book THE DIFFERENCE: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough (Crown Business, 2017) made it to the USA Today Bestseller list as well as National Bestseller in India. In 2017, India’s prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur established the ‘Subir Chowdhury School of Quality and Reliability’ – the first of its kind in Asia. He is the Chairman and CEO of ASI Consulting Group and helped his clients save billions of dollars.

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