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Accountability Leadership

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Accountability Leadership

How to Strengthen Productivity through Sound Managerial Leadership

Career Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

To make people accountable, provide clarity, alignment and — since accountability is meaningless without it — authority.

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Editorial Rating



Author Gerald Kraines addresses a neglected area of management and lays out practical, important prescriptions for turning accountability into a linchpin of a thriving organization. Unfortunately, his solid counsel reads like an especially turgid graduate-level textbook. While all the ideas in this book are useful and many are extremely valuable, they’re obscured by the heavy use of jargon (much of it self-defined, so the book often seems to be written in its own unique language). As a result, even though it is only some 220 pages, readers may give up, defeated by stretches of nearly impenetrable text. Kraines, who builds on the work of Elliott Jaques, tries to open doors with accessible case studies, but he soon lapses back into his specialized vocabulary. As a result, believes the full text will interest mainly a very specific audience: business students and professors, theorists, consultants and high-level managers at large organizations may want to look up particular chapters for details and context. Even if you don’t have the stamina for the whole tome, hang in there for the gems.


Part I: Leadership and Accountability

For your organization to reach its goals, put its systems and structures in alignment with its strategy. The key ingredient is accountability within in the organization. Instead of defining accountability as blame, regard it as an employee’s obligation to deliver the value he’s being paid to deliver, with no surprises. (Of course, employers have accountabilities, too.) Some accountabilities are fixed; some are relative. Fixed accountabilities include the employees’ commitment to complete their assignments on time within available resources. Relative accountabilities require employees, in cooperative teams, to add the value their roles require.

Expert Elliott Jaques developed the expression "Quantity x Quality x Time / Resources," and phrased it as a formula: QQT/R. The "/R" does not indicate mathematical division - it separates the constraints on management’s resources from the employees’ results. These variables are both independent and interdependent; expect trade-offs among them. QQT/R is not a rigid rule. Instead, it helps managers and employees reach clear, agreed-upon commitments by focusing on how to deliver on goals, rather...

About the Author

President and CEO of The Levinson Institute, a Boston-based leadership development firm, Gerald A. Kraines, M.D., has helped public and private organizations create leadership systems.

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