Summary of How Did That Happen?

Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive, Principled Way

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How Did That Happen? book summary
Most workplace problems are accountability problems. Get employees to step up rather than step out.


7 Overall

7 Applicability

6 Innovation

6 Style


When things go wrong at work and you’re left asking, “How did that happen?” the reflexive response is to find someone or something to blame. That doesn’t solve anything. Nor does it prevent something from falling through the cracks again in the future. Take a proactive, constructive approach by developing a sense of accountability in every person at every level of your organization. Consultants Roger Connors and Tom Smith provide a system – the “Accountability Sequence” – for instilling responsibility in everyone in your company. The authors’ insistence – here, as in their previous books – on using their own contrived terminology adds an unnecessary layer of confusion and redundancy to their otherwise solid, straightforward and useful concepts. getAbstract recommends their system for creating an organizationwide sense of accountability, responsibility and participation to managers at any company of any size.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What role accountability plays in performance and achievement
  • How you can “establish expectations,”
  • How best to address people who haven’t met set expectations


Accountability, Not Blame
The three axioms of the “Accountability Sequence Model” are the foundation of holding people accountable in a “positive, principled way” that makes them feel good and produces results. When things go wrong, people usually have dropped the ball due to a lack of...
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About the Authors

Roger Connors and Tom Smith co-founded the Partners in Leadership consultancy and co-wrote The Principle and Journey to the Emerald City.

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