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Posted by on in Accountability

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with… The airlines assault on their customers experience   Around 1996-1997 I lived in San Antonio and commuted to Chicago to work for Pepsi almost weekly. I typically caught the 6:50 am flight to O’hare and usually bought my ticket the prior day. The airfare was $600 and I did not pay any “fees” in addition to that. Occasionally, my work or family would require me to change flight times or even days for my return flight. I would just call the airline and request a seat on a different flight, or sometimes I might just go to the airport to seek a seat.   Fast forward many years, most airlines have declared bankruptcy, some multiple times and all seem to want to position themselves as a “low cost carrier” (Most customers seem to demand such a strategy).In order to keep...
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Posted by on in Accountability

Minimum Managerial Accountability and Authority

In our work we frequently come across organizational challenges stemming from managerial accountability and authority being ill defined and misunderstood. We believe that establishing Minimum Accountabilities and Authorities is a “building block” of a sound organization. We will post more on each of these in upcoming posts but we wanted to first post this excerpt from the book in entirety as a definition. Look for us to add more depth and clarity to each of the bullet points below.   MINIMUM MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTABILITIES In the context of organizational design and the workplace, a manager is a person in a role (a managerial role) which inherently carries the following minimum accountabilities:   1.Their own work 2.The output of others (subordinates) 3.Building and sustaining a team 4.Leadership – leading subordinates individually and as a team so they are capable of producing the outputs required by the organization     MINIMUM MANAGERIAL AUTHORITIES  VETO...
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Posted by on in Accountability

Why I Don’t Always Use Time-Span to Measure Level of Work

In a longitudinal series of studies of various U.S. Army organizations over a 25 year period, I uncovered some interesting findings that caused me to question the universal application of the time-span instrument in measuring level of work of a role. During this period, the Army moved from a peacetime environment to a wartime one. Senior leaders (General Officers) moved routinely back and forth between these two different situations. Consequently, it was possible to gather time-span data from both environments. Interestingly, in war-time situations the time perspective of a given General Officer changed dramatically. For example, a level V Major General went from a 5-7 year time horizon to a 2 year one. Similar results were obtained from other officers operating at different organizational layers. As a result of this research, I began to “muse” about the possibility that perhaps some other phenomenon was at play here. I chose to call...
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Posted by on in Accountability

The complexity suite spot, where is it?

I live in a small town. The town is really known for the federal courthouse and the lawyers that make their living from the courthouse. I am also the founder of the local youth soccer league. Each fall we place hundreds of grade school aged kids on teams via a “draft” and coach’s selection of those kids. It’s simple problem, place all the kids on teams with the teams being relatively balanced in terms of skills. The NFL calls this “parity”. It amazes me how overly complex the parents make the team allocation process. It’s a simple problem, with a simple goal yet parents insist on applying overly complex solutions. Keep it simple stupid just doesn’t work with lawyers who spend their days in front of federal judges. That’s my weekend work, on weekdays I venture into the corporate arena. The problems are big, hard and complex. The goals precisely defined...
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Posted by on in Accountability

Hiring Decision The “Agile Man” or the Specialist

What managers need/want – what we typically end up hiring Today’s world is full of uncertainty and change. Customers are embolden by the information age and as a result have become more and more demanding. We live in a global economy where competition flourishes. Governments likewise have become more intrusive through the increased use of regulations to control behavior.   In other words, change is all around us. It is constant, unceasing and ever accelerating.  This is the world that managers and leaders face. They must be able to cope with such change. The cry has been to find individuals who are agile and adaptive, who can readily cope with constant and unabating change, are not threatened by trying new things and new ways to do business. Thus, one would think that individuals who have operated  in multiple functional areas and in different types of work would be in high demand by...
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Posted by on in Accountability

Accountability or Plausible Deniability

I made a very deliberate decision not to ask the President, so that I could insulate him from the decision and provide some future deniability for him if it ever leaked out. - John Poindexter On his action in diverting funds from arms sales at Iran Contra hearings Plausible deniability is a term coined by the CIA during the Kennedy administration to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge. Wikipedia - For some time now we have used the term Plausible Deniability in working with our corporate clients, although our definition varies slightly from the traditional definition of the term above. Plausible Deniability (Clement definition) – a situation in which an individual cannot be held accountable for a result or output, specifically when the end result does not...
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Posted by on in Accountability

Accountability or Responsibility

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. - Ronald Reagan   Nearly every manager uses the term accountability to describe their existing work system. They pride themselves on running “a tight ship” where their subordinates are held accountable to produce a set of specified outputs. While use of the term is widespread, clarity around its definition is not so widespread.  Lets talk about what actually happens in most companies. First of all, some managers never properly communicate desired outputs at the start of the performance period at all. In the worst cases, these outputs are actually filled in by the subordinate during the "rating" period. In other situations, the manager doesn’t pay any attention to outputs until he/she is required to complete the rating scheme.  It is the rare situation where the manager actually sits...
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