Accountable to Fire

Sam Silverstein Blog

Fox News let Bill O’Reilly go in the aftermath of harassment allegations. This is a decision to do what’s right, even at a financial cost. Fox News becomes accountable in that decision

Accountability doesn’t show up until a tough decision has to be made. Anyone can make the easy decision but when there is money at stake or market share or even additional work for everyone else it is easy to go down the slippery slope and not make the tough decision.

All of this comes on the heels of Roger Ailes, the founding head of Fox News, being let go last year because of sexual harassment charges. In letting Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly go they are saying that their culture matters. They are telling everyone at the organization that we don’t act like that around here. They are saying that they want their future to look different than their past.

Cultures don’t heal overnight, but making this decision is the start of something very positive. Fox News has the ability, if they do it right, to come back stronger. If they clearly identify their values, and then make sure that all decisions are based on those values, the culture will move from one of default to one of design. In the process they will create a positive place to work for everyone.

Fly The Friendly Skies of Accountability

Sam Silverstein Blog

We’ve all seen the online videos of the person being dragged off of the United Airlines flight. It looked terrible. It was terrible.

There are several issues at play here that show a lack of accountability.

The first is the decision to drag a person off of a flight. When the airline offered $800 to passengers to give up their seat and it wasn’t taken the next move would have been to offer $1000, $1200 or more. If the airline sold the seats and then needs them back the airline should realize that they are responsible to make it right, not the customer.

Second, who decided to drag the person off of the airplane? Who decided that there were not any other solutions? Which United employees stood around and didn’t interject and say, “This isn’t how we do things here?” In an organization with a culture that encourages accountability all employees help their teammates be accountable.

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We The People

Sam Silverstein Blog

“I’m the president. And I’m always responsible,” President Barack Obama said in 2012 after the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed.

In 2010 that same leader said, “In case you were wondering, in any of your reporting, who’s responsible? I take responsibility” after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.

On March 4, 1987, President Reagan addressed the American people from the Oval Office about the Iran-Contra Scandal and took responsibility for his Administration’s participation. He famously said: “Now, what should happen when you make a mistake is this: You take your knocks, you learn your lessons, and then you move on. That’s the healthiest way to deal with a problem… You know, by the time you reach my age, you’ve made plenty of mistakes. And if you’ve lived your life properly — so, you learn. You put things in perspective. You pull your energies together. You change. You go forward.”

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Don’t Hold People Accountable!

Sam Silverstein Blog 0 Comments

All to often we hear someone say, “You have to hold them accountable.” Or we hear a leader say, “I’m going to hold you accountable.” The truth is that it should never be about holding people accountable. We, as leaders, should be helping people be accountable. There is a big difference between the two.

Accountability is keeping your commitments to people. A commitment takes two people. When you are helping someone be accountable both parties benefit. When you hold someone accountable it’s one-sided. There is a huge difference between these two positions. The end result is different.
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