Teaching Smart vs. not LO13559

Edwin Brenegar III (brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu)
Fri, 09 May 1997 06:49:37 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13540 --

To Michael, Debbie, Ben and the List,

If accountability is only measured in numbers, then accountability is a
problem area. But, IMHO, how can you have a shared vision, which is truly
shared, unless you have some means of "mutual" accountability. If the
sharing is top-down, then it isn't a genuine shared vision. It is a
sanctioned vision, sanctioned by those who are asked or required to

I find that accountability structures are often implemented to achieve two
goals, and I do not mean this a cynically as it will sound. First, that
it sets a rigid structure for assigning blame when the project fails. I'm
working in the midst of one of those right now. Second, it is designed to
protect the professionals from outside criticism. It is an insular hive
which is not open to real change. And any suggestion of additional
accountability which is based on things other than numbers, is viewed as a
threat to their system of accountability. I'm working with a group right
now which is so insular, their defense mechanisms are on red alert because
of any suggestion that their client should have something to say about how
they are evaluated.

The problem is both the lack of accountability and the need for the right
kind of accountability.

Great thread. Very important, I believe.

Ed Brenegar

On Thu, 8 May 1997, Michael Gort wrote:

> Debbie -- Accountability speaks to me of green eyeshades and large
> ledgers. Of counting up and assessing the value of the person. Dr.
> Deming spoke of the role of the process or system. He said counting
> widgets and exhorting higher production from workers in a process that was
> in control was fruitless. The system controlled the output, with only
> normal cause variation. If you want higher output, focus on improving the
> system, not telling the workers to produce more. Accountability in large
> organization practice really revolves around blame setting. If I am
> accountable, and something does not work, I am at fault. Forget that the
> system had flaws and balancing loops that prevented me from achieving that
> for which I am accountable, it is my "fault". I have been there, and I
> have held and been held accountable many times. Never have I felt that
> holding or being held accountability helped or encouraged my or any
> other's learning. Aren't we really talking about sharing a vision, and
> being committed to learning from every failure so that we can further
> advance the cause towards that shared vision?


Edwin Brenegar III <brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>