Angela Snyder

Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results.”

At our company, the team has spent the past month discussing the concept of accountability.  Not the kind of accountability that looks to affix blame; rather, the kind of accountability that conveys pride in ownership.

The quote above isn’t my own, but to me, it underscores why “accountability” is such a critical part of any business equation.  Every day, people demonstrate commitment.  We have empathy.  We are loyal.  We care.  We strive.  We are dedicated.  And each of these items is an essential trait or behavior that supports professional (and personal) success.

However, accountability takes all of these items, which are largely intent-driven, and uses them to positively impact outcomes and results.  Accountability is where the difference is made; it’s where opportunities are fully leveraged and where potential is fully realized.

The NJBankers Leadership Academy serves as a catalyst to increase the accountability of committed bankers and help them achieve tangible results.  Providing mentoring and coaching for emerging leaders in the banking industry has long been my passion, and therefore I’d like to use my last letter as Chairwoman of NJBankers to highlight the experiences of participants in the organization’s first-ever Emerging Leaders Program.  I think their thoughts are the most powerful testament of how NJBankers is working to achieve positive results.

In a recent survey, we asked program participants to tell us what aspects of the program were most beneficial to them and why.  We were pleased to hear many positive comments on the format of the sessions, the quality of the instructors, and the pacing of the program.

One participant said that the structure of the program materials and projects provides accountability.  There’s that word again!  It’s great to know that emerging leaders recognize the importance of this concept. 

Other participants cited the mix of diverse backgrounds, experiences and thoughts represented at each session – they appreciated the opportunity to learn from other class members as well as from the presenters.  These leaders are taking ownership for their own career success and looking for ways to broaden their thinking and deepen their skills.

At a recent event, James Ballentine, Executive Vice President of Congressional Relations and Political Affairs for the American Bankers Association, talked about why it’s so important to become involved – engaged, actually – in the broader dialogue in our industry.  And he stressed that to become engaged, we need to continually broaden our base of knowledge and consider other perspectives and views.  He reminded us that knowledge truly is power, for a lack of knowledge means we will be too timid to engage for fear of showing our ignorance, or ineffective in leading others because our vision and our ideas will not ring true. 

So if we want that internal commitment and dedication we feel to be able to produce tangible results, we need to be accountable – to ourselves and to others.  We need to be curious.  We need to take action.  We need to ask a lot of questions and thoughtfully consider the answers.  We need to seek out people whose experiences and opinions differ from our own, for it is exposure to this diversity of thought that enhances both our learning and our journey. 

Mahatma Gandhi told his followers, “Be the change you want to see in the world” and throughout my life, I have tried to take his words to heart.  During my tenure as Chairwoman of NJ Bankers, I have worked, in partnership with our talented staff and volunteer bankers, to shine a light on the importance of readying the banking industry leaders of tomorrow for the challenges and opportunities they will face.  I have asked senior leaders to step up to the plate, urging them to serve as mentors, providing guidance and opportunity to young banking professionals.  And I have urged those who are newer in their careers to seek learning opportunities, ask for feedback, and look for ways to apply their newfound knowledge and skills. 

And all the while, I have asked the same of myself.  As I leave this position, I will take with me wonderful new friends and business associates, new experiences and ideas, and a renewed commitment to our industry.  And I plan to be accountable for using those experiences to help me effect positive change in the years to come.

It has both a pleasure and a privilege to serve you as Chairwoman of NJBankers.  I look forward to seeing you later this spring at the NJBankers  Annual Conference in Florida!