Accountability LO13605

Edwin Brenegar III (
Wed, 14 May 1997 21:24:53 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13589 --

Gray, et al,

Accountability is strange issue. It is usually viewed as whose ox is
being gored. But I think that it is because it is usually conceived and
practiced in one direction, top down. Meaningful accountability is
mutual, meaning that both parties are responsible to the other. And it is
constructive, not puntative. If this type of accountability is to ever
occur, it will because the leadership of an organization is realistic,
humble and courageous enough to accept it. I don't see that happening in
too many places. But people are talking about it, and it is usually the
customer who is most concerned with it.

Up until two years ago, I always worked for someone. I now work for
myself, and find that the accountability issue is still there. Do I
really want evaluation forms filled out on my performance as a presenter?
Do I really want to know what people think? What I find is that they are
more generous about my limitations than I am. And that hard criticism is
often about something over which have little control.

So it may be enough that we talk about accountability a lot, and somebody
decides to hold us accountable for all our noble talk, and put us to the
test, in a constructive, learning organizational manner. Those are the
kids of friends and clients I want.

Thanks for great thought on an important subject.

Ed Brenegar

> From: Gray Southon <>
> Accountability seems such a reasonable thing until you get to the
> practicalities of who is accountable to whom for what on whos terms and by
> what means. When one starts to sort out these issues in many cases it
> starts to get very complex and rather meaningless.
> I see many situations where managers and politicians justify their power
> in terms of their accountabilty, but when things go wrong their
> accountability means nothing.
> As for an employees accountabilty to a mssion, it think that would be very
> difficult to make sense of in practice unless you have a very clear
> mission, and others who see the mission in exactly the same way.
> Perhaps I am rather cynical, but I see accountability as one of the big
> put-ons of the current age.
> Yours
> Gray Southon


Edwin Brenegar III <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>