Submission To Standard Through Enforcement And Consequences
Standards, Enforcement and Consequences are the three required elements of Accountability. If they are not present Accountability will not occur. The Q voluntarily and deliberately introduces each element into his life to Accelerate and address those areas where the Jester is most likely to cause him to stumble.
• A Standard is an objective measure of performance or behavior
For a Standard to be effective, it must be inarguable. If there is subjective wiggle-room in its application then it is really only a squishy aspiration (e.g., “I’m going to get in ‘better’ shape”). The clearest example of an objective and inarguable Standard is a man’s weight as provided by his properly calibrated bathroom scale. Your pants might lie to you and the mirror will tell you what you want it to, but there is no bargaining with the scale when you are standing on it. If it says you weigh more than you did yesterday, then you do.
An effective Standard is usually binary, as in a Commitment to zero-engagement with pornography. Binary standards work because they leave no room for the kind of subjective interpretation inherent in committing (for example) to engage in “less pornography”. Who is to say what “less” is? You’re either looking at dirty pictures or you aren’t.
Equally ineffective as a Standard is a high-sounding ideal or concept that cannot be concretely defined, such as “cooperativeness”, “academic humility” or a “commitment to diversity”. While such things may be important and valuable they do not serve as Standards because they are susceptible to multiple definitions and subjective evaluation. “I will weigh no more than 190 pounds” is a Standard—“I will commit myself to a healthy lifestyle” is not.
• Enforcement is the external force that applies the Standard
Enforcement usually comes in the form of another man. No man can hold himself Accountable. If that were possible, then men would not need Accountability to maintain desirable performance and behavior. We would all just simply straighten ourselves out and fly right. In his heart, every man knows that this is impossible.
For Accountability to function there must be an external interceding factor to measure our actual performance or behavior against the Standard we agreed to set for it. There must be another man to watch you step on the scale, read what it says and compare that to the Standard. There must be another men to check your cookies and see if you have been looking at dirty pictures.
Without Enforcement, man’s tendency is to continually lower his Standards to meet his declining performance until both meet at the bedrock of his life. The Q relies on Enforcement to arrest this free-fall as early as possible so that he may get back on track as quickly as possible.
• Consequences are the unwanted results that follow a failure to meet the Standard.
For example, if I exceed 190 pounds at my Monday morning weigh-in I will give up pie for one week. That is an unwanted result. If I engage in pornography a single time, I will turn off my iPhone for seven days. That is an unwanted result. While Consequences can be punitive, they don’t have to be. Sometimes, the most effective Consequence is simply having to admit Failure to another man without relief from the kind of excuses you would normally accept from yourself. Goo Nation may reject this type of Consequence as a form of shame, but the Q embraces it because it works.
Finally, Accountability works best between two Qs within a Shield Lock. Men agree to Enforce each other’s Standards for the mutual benefit of themselves and the Community of which they are Members.