Accountability: Measuring Progress (Class #13)

Straight-A Guide Job Training Program

Lesson #13: Accountability

Measuring Progress

Materials Required:

  • Classroom space
  • Sufficient number of chairs with writing surface
  • Accountability Log essay 

Introduce Lesson #13 (5 minutes):

  • Describe purpose of accountability logs and show how tracking progress publicly relates to the advancement of a career.

First steps (10 minutes):

  • Take roll of participants.
  • Facilitator shows class example of his own accountability log. The log relates directly to the value categories by which he professes to live and shows progress he makes toward the individual goals within each value category.

Goals and Objectives (5 minutes):

  • Explain reason why each participant should leave knowing how to design accountability logs that track compliance with the values by which he lives and progress toward the goals he strives to achieve.

Expected Learning Outcomes (5 minutes):

  • Facilitator will teach participants how to build an initial log and also steps he can take to make the log public, encouraging others to hold him accountable.

Preliminary introduction (5 minutes):

  • Facilitator discusses different forms of accountability logs, including credit reports, fitness forms, report cards, and financial filings. Explains relationship between those types of records and success.

Direct Instruction (10 minutes):

  • Facilitator explains that regardless of where an individual stands today, his commitment to accountability advances his prospects for career development and optimal personal performance. Many people in society will judge those who have served time in prison and who have been saddled with felony records. If an individual takes the necessary steps to own his past decisions and demonstrate his commitment to building a better life as a law-abiding citizen, more opportunities will open for him. The accountability logs encourage others to judge an individual for the steps he is making to improve rather than for the bad decisions of the past. A proactive effort to record incremental progress represents an essential component of the Straight-A Guide.

Guided Practice (20 minutes):

  • Facilitator breaks class into smaller groups.
  • Facilitator passes out essay describing how value categories and goals lead to good accountability logs.
  • Facilitator asks group to design accountability logs to track progress.

Lesson #13: Purpose of Keeping Accountability Logs

In his book Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term, Michael Santos wrote about how his accountability logs advanced prospects for his success. At the start of each year he identified the value categories by which he would live and he set clear goals within each value category. Those value categories evolved over time. At the start of his term, he described a 100 percent commitment:

  1. To educate himself
  2. To contribute to society; and
  3. To build a support network.

Those commitments represented his value categories. He established clearly defined goals within each category. They included the following:

  1. Educating himself meant earning a university degree within his first 10 years of imprisonment.
  2. Contributing to society meant publishing at least one document within the first 10 years of his confinement.
  3. Building a support network meant bringing 10 mentors into his life.

Since Michael knew the value categories by which he professed to live, and since he had clear goals within each value category, he could establish accountability logs to track his progress. Those accountability logs were nothing more than written narratives. He used them to narrate the commitment he was making to become something more than the bad decisions of his past.

As a consequence of Michael’s commitment to document his journey, he opened opportunities that few would’ve thought possible for someone in prison. He encouraged others to live the same way.

  1. Identify value categories and set clear goals.
  2. Establish timelines that will define success.
  3. Write narratives that show progress toward each goal.
  4. Make the accountability logs public so that others can see the commitment that you’re making to advance the prospects of your life.