While watching the news this week, I was amazed by the lack of accountability in so many of the headlines. Perhaps the most striking example came from the Costa Concordia cruise ship captain Francesco Schettino, who when accused of abandoning ship too soon after the liner struck rocks off the Tuscan coast, told Italian investigators that he “tripped” into one of the lifeboats while aiding in the evacuation.

We all make mistakes; we are human, and they are unavoidable. But what matters is how we handle them. Earlier this week we had a missed delivery appointment on one of our regular loads. The carrier we hired to haul this load also hauls directly for this customer and had apparently had a number of recent service failures. The shipper was considering taking lanes away from this carrier and giving them to us. Upon further investigation, Mary discovered that the missed appointment was actually our fault. The carrier had called in with a mechanical problem and asked us to change the delivery appointment. We failed to do so.

Mary did not call me and ask me what to do; she immediately called the customer back and made him aware of the error on our part. She knows that we tell the truth in our organization, so there was no question of how to handle the situation. Another long-time shipping customer, Paul Unsworth, said it best:  “We understand that no company is perfect; stuff happens. But when it does happen, we know that the good folks at Matchmaker will do everything they can to make it right.”

And so, I share some of my favorite quotes about accountability:

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“God gave burdens, also shoulders.” ~ Yiddish proverb

“The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.” ~ Steve Maraboli

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” ~ Stephen R. Covey