The Accountability Blog

Tag: accountable leadership

The Opioid Crisis: A Failure of Accountable Leadership

The high-profile protests we’ve been seeing against companies involved in schemes to profit from the nation’s massive opioid epidemic — the most visible being the health-care giant Johnson and Johnson — have, I think, been focusing on the wrong end of the problem. They have been leaving out the issue of what accountable leadership actually looks like. Make no mistake. People will be writing for decades to come about the legal and moral failures that

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Boeing, the 737 Max, and the Accountability Challenge

What does accountable leadership, in both the public and private sectors, look like after a major disaster? We are in the process of finding out. Following two fatal crashes of its Boeing 737 Max jets earlier this year, the aviation giant Boeing has settled the first of multiple lawsuits from families who lost loved ones on those flights. According to Reuters, the families involved in the first settlement will each receive $1.2 million, in addition

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Southwest Airlines: What Accountability Looks Like in Action

Southwest Airlines just gave us all a lesson in accountable leadership. You may have seen the news a while back about Boeing having grounded its troubled 737 Max planes, pending certification from the FAA that that aircraft is actually safe to fly. There are plenty of issues about accountability to look at there, but that is another story for another day. Boeing has said it will compensate its customers for losses related to the groundings;

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Corporate Culture: Deeper than Dollars and Cents

This past Labor Day, Delta Airlines made headlines in the business world by sending out a memo informing employees that they would be receiving an unexpected four-percent raise. A couple of years back, American Airlines gave its employees a comparable across-the-board raise. Do such management decisions, on their own, serve as evidence of an accountable corporate culture? I say no. Here is why: It is not just about the money. An accountable corporate culture is

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Accountable Leadership Is Leadership that Creates a Safe Place to Work

The fact that you occupy a leadership position on the organizational chart does not mean you are an accountable leader. Case in point: Katarzyna Richter, director of LOT Polish Airlines. During a flight she took on British Airways, one of her chief competitors, Richter apparently took clandestine photographs of members of the flight crew serving her, and later posted those photos on Facebook with degrading commentaries: “Today,” she wrote in Polish that was quickly translated

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What is the Purpose of a Corporation?

CEOs from the Business Roundtable, including the leaders of huge companies like JPMorgan Chase, Apple, and Amazon, made major headlines recently. They came together with the stated aim of redefining business’s role in society. Overturning decades of business-school orthodoxy that embraced economist Milton Friedman’s pronouncement that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,” the nearly 200 CEOs signed off on a statement about the “purpose of a corporation.” This statement explicitly acknowledged

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Accountable Corporate Culture: Did You Get the Memo?

How easy is it to believe you have an accountable corporate culture, but be 100% wrong about that? Too easy. Consider the case of easyJet. Do a search on “easyJet values” and you will eventually come across the following two sentences, posted prominently on the low fare airline’s “what we do” web page. We never compromise on safety.  Safety underpins everything we do. That looks good on a web page, and it’s certainly among the

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American Airlines Has an Accountability Problem

Did you happen to see the recent story about how American Airlines humiliated a passenger by informing her that she would not be able to fly unless she covered up her strapless outfit? It was really a story about an accountability problem. Dr. Tisha Rowe, who was wearing a perfectly appropriate summer romper, was told, in front of her son, “You are not getting on the plane dressed like that.” She donned a blanket in

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Beyond Superman: Accountable Leadership Is Interdependent Leadership

One of the traps we sometimes fall into as leaders is imagining that we are not dependent on anyone else. We convince ourselves that we alone are capable of securing the outcomes that lead to whatever we define as “success.” We may even convince ourselves that we as individuals are more indispensable than anyone else on the team…and that we, therefore, matter more than the team matters. In reality, the team comes first! All human

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KPMG’S Ethics Crisis — and the Lesson It Teaches Leaders About Accountability

KPMG is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, a global audit, tax, and advisory network of service firms that has made big news in recent years for a slew of controversies about serious ethics lapses. Such controversies are problematic in any industry, but they are particularly troubling in the world of high-profile accounting. Why? Because an unshakeable commitment to ethics, impartiality, and high professional standards is the true “product” KPMG sells its clients and

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