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
Most leaders miss a huge opportunity when they talk about diversity. In the wake of multiple high-profile news stories about diversity and inclusion, and any number of hastily-assembled “damage control” initiatives from companies at the center of those stories, I wonder if it’s time to reframe our national workplace conversation on diversity. Here’s a start: If you’re a leader, you are already accountable to each member of your team to fulfil your organization’s commitment to
I received a question recently from someone online, a question that gave me pause. He wanted my insights on how he could find the right employer in his chosen field, an organization driven by strong values. This is a very important issue, one that is all the more essential to consider closely because, as this man pointed out, most of the companies in his industry seemed to lack a coherent guiding set of values. Indeed,
Have you ever tried to “hold someone accountable”– and found that the person’s performance got worse instead of better? The Principle of Accountability makes holding someone accountable impossible. Lots of leaders have had this experience. Before we start talking about “holding people accountable,” a tactic that usually backfires, maybe we need to ask ourselves a more fundamental question: What does that word “accountability” really mean? Accountability, very simply, means keeping your commitments to people. Period.
Recently, I was talking to someone — I’ll call her Carol — who had seen one of my videos and heard a point I had shared about accountable leadership. She said, “It’s interesting, Sam, and I’m sure it’s helpful for your audience, but it’s not really relevant to me.” “Why not?” I asked. “Because I’m not a leader.” This answer piqued my interest, because I knew Carol was a mother. I said, “What makes you
What is your Purpose in life? What is your Mission? They are not the same. It is quite common for people (and teams and even entire organizations) to get a little confused about what a Purpose is and how it differs from a Mission. This confusion does not exist for accountable leaders and the team members who report to them. Truly accountable leaders know that their Purpose is the reason they are here, phrased in