F R OM T H E F O U N D E R
“A ccountability” is one of those terms that is continuously used in business today. We hear it every day. One of management’s jobs is supposed to be holding people “accountable.” I don’t think anyone ever seems to question that. What really makes people take responsibility for something and give it their all – to truly be accountable?
It’s the “holding” part I have a problem with. I don’t want to treat the employees of any business I run like children. Nor do I think that works well, for several reasons. First and foremost, no one likes being chastised by their manager if things they are supposed to do either didn’t get done or didn’t work out as they were supposed to. Secondly, managers don’t like doing that to people, either. It’s usually pretty uncomfortable. So, what does work? What really makes people take responsibility for something and give it their all – to be accountable? Three things come to mind: 1. The person. I don’t want to minimize the importance of having the right person in the job in the first place. You have to hire people who are responsible. It’s not hard to figure that out when you talk to someone. Did they work while
in school and still make good grades? Did they have responsibility for taking care of their siblings or a sick parent? Do they pay their bills on time? Do they have a verifiable track record of success? What do they tell you as stories of when they had a real responsibility for something and lived up to it. And while we are talking about people – don’t forget it is management’s job (i.e., your job) to be sure they have the tools, equipment, and – in our business – the people assigned to them have the training required to be able to live up to your expectations. 2. The culture. Does your firm have a culture that makes people want to take responsibility for something? Some firms do and some firms don’t. When management is too top-down control oriented, people may resist. They don’t want
See MARK ZWEIG, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER FEBRUARY 7, 2022, ISSUE 1427
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