Personal accountability is one of the great hallmarks of leadership, and the ability to put your hand up – not point fingers or become a “Teflon” player – returns in full measure the trust and faith that your peers hold you to.
The context of the following quote has always bothered me:
“The Buck Stops Here.”
– President Harry Truman
Many of you know the story – this was the little sign that he kept on his desk. His view was that he held ultimate accountability for the actions of his administration. A few U.S. Presidents followed his role model and appropriated the sign for themselves – although I think a couple actually placed them behind their desks…
My issue is – what about everyone else? What a convenient excuse to look innocent and say “it’s not my problem” as a finger points and waves in some general direction behind and above.
The notion of accountability itself is right on. Its singular location is wrong. The buck stops with all of us – I once heard that when you point your finger at someone, the majority of your fingers are actually still pointing back at you…
Accountability is a local game. The more local, the stronger the accountability and I think the more powerful the organization. Accountability makes things happen, it drives leadership and makes management both more potent and more influential.
The buck at the end of the chain isn’t worth a dime…