Usually, when we run into a challenge, we focus most of our effort on changing what we do…and we make little or no effort to change the way we think. Yet the power of thinking far outstrips the effects of doing. It is only when we change the way we think that we change what we do in a sustainable way. This is a key principle of accountable leadership: Action always follows belief. If you
The Accountability Blog
Accountable leaders never tire of asking themselves a tough question: Who am I, really? They know the answer to that question is always going to be rooted, not in what they say about themselves, but in the actions that they choose to take. These leaders know their actions do one of two things: they either demonstrate full commitment to their chosen purpose in life … or they demonstrate commitment to something else. Recently, I was
Here is perhaps the ultimate accountability challenge: Suppose you were called on to turn around a company in crisis. How would you do it? There never seems to be any shortage of firms experiencing challenges that connect to a deficit of accountability. The most recent, glaring example is probably Boeing, whose CEO just departed following a series of major problems related to internal safety concerns that were withheld from regulators and others. The plane in
We can only inspire accountability. We can never bring it into existence by demanding it. This is the Principle of Accountability. And the only way to master accountability is to change the way we think. Accountability is not a way of doing. It is a way of thinking. Plenty of leaders talk about “holding people accountable” for certain narrowly-defined outcomes: getting a report done on time, hitting a performance target, taking out the trash, whatever.
An extraordinary instance of accountable business leadership made the news over the past week. It came from an employee, not from someone highly placed in the organization, and it was in service of the powerful accountability commitment I call “I stand by you when all hell breaks loose.” The accountable leadership moment came when Bonnie Kimball, a cafeteria worker at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in New Hampshire, learned that one of the students in
The truth is the truth. The rules are the rules. You may have seen the story a few years back about New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier, who pulled a fast one on the umpires – and on all of us. His story connects directly to the issue of accountability. In a game against the Dodgers, Frazier got credit for making a catch that he didn’t make. Chasing a ball hit into foul territory,
How do you build an accountable corporate culture? Microsoft just gave us all a lesson. If you go to Microsoft’s website and take a look at their corporate values, you will come across this powerful sentence: We recognize privacy as a fundamental human right. Inspiring…but there is a potential problem. Just posting those words is not enough to build or sustain a corporate culture that features commitments that support this value. That takes more than
If we don’t demand the truth we cannot also expect accountability to be present. When we stop setting the expatiation of honesty chaos presents itself. It may not be popular or easy to confront someone but settling for anything less than the absolute and compete truth creates a culture where anything goes.
Two off duty Secret Service agents, on their way home from a party at a bar, drive their car through police tape and barricades where their colleagues were investigating a possible bomb. And, while supervisors on the scene suspect that the two agents are intoxicated they are sent on their way without a breath test. No ramifications from driving into a sealed investigation scene and then actually put back into their car to drive home. An onlooker would conclude that the Secret Service belief is that their people get preferential treatment.
The words accountability and responsibility are quite commonly interchanged in usage in the English language. In many languages around the world there isn’t a direct interpretation for accountability and the word responsibility is used. Society now blurs the lines between the two.
There are differences and they are significant. You are responsible for things. You are accountable to people. This delineation greatly enhances the understanding and application of each word.