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by Erik Sorenson | May 27, 2009


Executivesand managers have never faced more requirements of accountability.  Yesterday, this blog addressed theissue of answering more to our employees in the ever more Darwinian workplace.  Today, the accountability we’ve alwaysbeen aware of – service to bosses and boards – is the subject of someobservations. 

Wehave always been accountable, but never more so than today.  In the wake of failures in the banking,insurance, newspaper, magazine and automobile industries, public and privateboards are more attentive than ever. (Nobody likes failure, especially if they can be sued for it.)  Add to the equation, ownership by UncleSam (or the threat of government ownership) and you have unprecedentedscrutiny.

Ifyou’re not reporting to a Board, you’re probably reporting to someone whois.  Or your boss’s boss is the onefeeling the heat in the board room. In any case, managers and executives across the country have anxiousshareholders and board representatives pacing and circling and wringing theirhands.  Your job is to realize theyhave every right.  This is theworst economy in decades and some think it could get even worse before it getsbetter.  And when companies canevaporate in a matter of days (see Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns) – and whenother companies can collapse after many years of dominance (see GM, AIG) – youcan’t be surprised by scrutiny or blame the scrutinizers.

Youhave one choice:  work to put outthe fire or get out of the kitchen. It’s reality.  We are inbrutal times.  Either you have theskills to contribute, or you don’t. Things are not brutal because it feels so brutal right now.  It’s brutal because it isbrutal.    Tomorrow – thethird and most important kind of new accountability for managers and executives. 



Filed Under: Workplace Issues