20141030_133707

Responsibility and Accountability: They’re the Same, Just Different

If you look up the definitions of responsibility and accountability you’ll find they are used interchangeably. But there is a subtle yet important difference between the two words. A good way to separate them is to consider responsibility as ownership of a task, and accountability as ownership of the results. Consider this example. Jack leads a team on which Jill is a member. Jack assigns Jill a task. It’s a…

Graduation

A Word to the Recent Graduate’s New Leaders

Most of the graduation ceremonies and celebrations are over now. Young people, and some not so young, have rightly celebrated great achievements and are now looking forward to the start of the next phase of their lives. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of speakers have taken to stages around the nation to provide motivational comments about the graduate’s futures. Now that the caps and gowns are put away and the party venues…

Diverse

A Difficult Subject

In a recent leadership workshop, we had deep discussion about diversity. Participants were looking for answers to an issue leaders face that seems to have no good answer. The conversation centered on two questions: how should a leader view diversity and why does this seem to be such an explosive and often no-win situation? That’s a difficult subject and even such a discussion can be fraught with danger. But it…

Punishment

Absence of Punishment is a Reward in Itself

That’s a saying I learned back in my days in the old Strategic Air Command (SAC). It reflected a culture that existed at one time in the military: the no news is good news style of leadership. In reality, most of the leaders I worked for back then didn’t really subscribe to this leadership theory, but there was still a culture in the larger organization that made this statement at…

Innovate

Innovate or Die

I was speaking to a friend recently and the subject turned to innovation. He was working with a client who was concerned that there was no longer an innovative spirit in his company. It reminded me of a conversation I had recently had with a client who wasn’t sure how to get his managers to be more innovative. I absolutely believe that in today’s business climate a company is either…