Soundview Executive Book Summaries


The Buck Stops Where?

It’s amazing how far 0ne can travel from one’s original intent while clicking away on the Internet. All I really intended to do was read a few headlines about the weekend’s news. That simple goal led me to clicking on an op-ed piece in the New York Times. Of course, much like with any blog (mine included, I hope) the lure of clicking an embedded link was too much to resist. So that led me to Gene Healy and the public policy group the CATO institute. The CATO folks published an essay excerpted from Healy’s book The Cult of the Presidency. It makes for quite interesting reading.

As I often mention in this forum, I avoid anything political because it inevitably leads readers of otherwise sound minds into a tizzy as they attempt to decipher my personal opinions. I first delved into Healy’s essay because of the quote featured in the Times article that Americans have come to view the president as a “living American talisman” against all sorts of problems, even natural disasters. The notion of culpability for the nation’s highest office is echoed in miniature at virtually every corporation. We’ve covered the topic ourselves on many occasions, recently with our summary of Brian Dive’s The Accountable Leader.

Accountability is the “high price” one has to pay for a position of notoriety within a company. However, there are many individuals who thrive on such conditions. The subject of individual accountability continues to rank as one of the most discussed in any company. It’s important to point out that accountability isn’t designed as a system where someone takes the fall for any mistakes that occur. In fact, that’s the opposite of good accountability practices. The key point made in many books that discuss this topic is the need for accountability to be proactive rather than reactive. If job roles are clearly defined and expectations are simply stated at the outset of any project, it becomes easier to track the project’s progress and clear up any mistakes along the way.

Stay tuned to Summary.com to learn more about the subject of accountability. We are currently looking at additional accountability titles for upcoming editions of Soundview Executive Book Summaries. In fact, I’ve got one here on my desk right now. I’d better stop my clicking and start my reading for the day!

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