Heera Training & Management Consultants

eNewsletter August 2010

Hi! And how are you all? I am a little bit ‘saner’ now with the World Cup over. I am not particularly a Spanish fan, but I still was happy that they won, rather than the ‘usual’ countries. However I could not help but feel sorry for Holland. They have gone into three World Cup finals and have yet to win any. On any other day, Arjen Robben would have put the ball in when he was one to one with Casillas, but it was not to be. Their name was most certainly not on the world cup.

This month I want to talk about accountability. Do you realize that in Malaysia, when something goes wrong, nobody is held accountable? Everyone plays the blame game and points fingers at others. An excellent example was when the ‘new’ stadium in Kuala Terengganu collapsed. Up till today, we do not know who was responsible. No one has come forward to accept blame and be held accountable. No one has been charged for the ‘disaster’. The prevalent attitude by the people concerned seems to be that it is better to go on the offensive and give any reason for the situation, no matter how ludicrous.

The most troubling aspect of this lack of accountability is that in a few weeks time, everything will be forgotten and life will go back to normal. Nobody is punished, nobody is held accountable and nobody will be blamed. And everyone will just shrug their shoulders and wait for the next ‘disaster’. What I find most infuriating is that the superiors of those who committed these errors of judgment have not demanded any form of accountability. Their silence has been most deafening. These superiors should rightly be blamed too because accountability is not only what we do, but also what we do not do. If you don't hold people accountable they will learn quickly that their behavior was acceptable and therefore will continue to behave in a similar manner in the future. Our leaders seem to be practicing a 'claim credit for anything good that happens and passing the blame to others when things go wrong' kind of management style.

In a recent survey in Corporate America in the aftermath of Enron, taking responsibility and being accountable now tops the list of desired CEO traits. It is not too late for us to start inculcating this value that acknowledging errors in judgment and mistakes is the ‘right’ thing to do. Obviously, this quantum leap in mindset has to come from the leaders themselves. Are they ready to abide by that maxim ‘leadership by example’? I must admit that I am not too optimistic.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I do hope all of you will have a great month in August. Till my September newsletter, have a great month ahead and do take care.