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Monday, September 7, 2015


As an observer of accountability systems over many years, I note some common aspects:

  • The more detailed and expansive the accountability measures, the greater the likelihood of failure (often by design).
  • Those who seem most endeared to strident accountability standards are usually the ones least likely to be involved in the dirty and difficult work required on the front lines of compliance.
  • The creators and proponents of high stakes accountability are typically inclined to exempt themselves from the same sort of expectations, scrutiny, oversight and consequences (the political ruling class fits well in this category).
  • Externally imposed accountability never works as efficiently or effectively as that that is locally developed, monitored, and/or enforced.
Accountability is, in concept and deployment, an attempt to impose the wishes of one group/individual upon another group/individual, regarding behavior or performance.  And, it is usually most effective when there is means to punish or penalize those who fail to meet the expectations of said others.  

The purest and most authentic accountability is intrinsically driven.  It's a mindset that is taught, not imposed; modeled, not demanded.

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