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The Accountability Question

February 5th, 2018 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Let’s reduce all this accountability business to a simple question.

The Accountability Question:

“What happens if I don’t do this? (thing you told me to do or some regulation or policy says I have to do)”

If the answer is, “nothing.” Well then, we have no accountability.

Or maybe this “thing” just isn’t important in which case we have to ask,

“If it isn’t important, why did you tell me to do it?”

If the answer is, “because, uh, er, just because.”

Then no one is holding you as a manager accountable for wasting resources.

So this idea of “being held accountable” goes around in some type of circle. Are people accountable, i.e., do they have to account for or justify the resources they spend? If I don’t do what you tell me, I am doing something else, i.e., I am spending resources on something else. Must I account for those resources?

But we go back to the fundamental question above, “What happens if I don’t do this?”

Answer, “You will no longer be paid to come here.”

“Oh, I guess I will do this, at least for now. If it is too distasteful, I will leave.”

In a high-unemployment economy, leaving and finding another paying job isn’t so easy, so people are more apt to “just do it” than ask the Accountability Question.

Tags: Accountability · Questions

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