Leadership in Crisis: Accoutability!

Source:Global DBA (Asia Track)Date:2020-02-10

At the beginning of 2020, with the arrival of the New Year and the outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus, emlyon Global DBA has been continuously focusing on social responsibility during this special period of concerted efforts to fight against the epidemic. We call on more entrepreneurs and executives to care about social welfare. Let us continue to spread positive energy, with each other's business wisdom to overcome the difficulties!

Author: Diana TANG

emlyon Global DBA 2018 participant

Chief Advisor of DDI

Founder of EDGE Consulting

While we are still confused by the ignorance of the officials in Huanggang, too many unanswered questions about Wuhan Red Cross begins to emerge. And before we figure it out, Shuanghuanglian, the so-called “magic pill”, was out of stock overnight.... With negligence and lack of accountability, trust is overwhelmed.

This world is too complicated. Accountability becomes a huge challenge when responding quickly to the complex and changing environment. However, there are also a group of people around us and from all over the world, who are dedicated to bear their duties and fight the disaster together, whether at the frontline or at the rear.

People at the front:

People at the rear:

You can count on them!

We need accountability in the face of the disaster.

Accountability is a way of thinking and/or behavior that focuses on identifying factors that the individual can control or influence or transmit to actional steps to attain desired goals.

Accountability is result oriented instead of action oriented

Accountability focuses on the awareness and behaviors leading to results rather than the mindset of taking a passive attitude towards one's role.

We have heard too much of "I did it, but others didn't work with me", or "I wanted to ensure the schedule and the mistake was not in me, because time is too tight, and resources are insufficient". These excuses are all action-oriented and are not accountability.

Many years ago, I told my boss, "I will do my best." I thought the boss would praise me, but in fact, he responded, "Good, I would like you to be result oriented as well." This conversation highly impressed me. Accountability is not just about trying to do a good job, but also about ensuring results.

Idea of Accountability:

What and when must I do?

How can I accomplish this if I want to do this?

What are the difficulties? How to solve them?

What resources and support are needed?

If not, what are the alternatives?

Accountability is also the difference between "done well" and "done". How to define "do well"? Simply put, “done well” means meeting the needs and wants of stakeholders. In order to achieve this result, the organization sets "done-well" requirements for different positions or develops specific strategic goals.

We can also set higher requirements. I remember a Japanese documentary titled "The God of Sushi". I was impressed by the extreme pursuit of customer experience by Jiro, known as the God of Sushi. From being picky about ingredients to the position, temperature and feel of towels, all employees set extremely high standards, which reflects the result-oriented craftsmanship in every detail. This is accountability.

No matter how difficult it is and how many reasons there are, my failure to do well is my accountability. This is the spirit of accountability, as President Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.”

Accountability focuses on “what I can” rather than “what I cannot”

Accountability highlights controllable factors, that is, active and pragmatic awareness and behaviors, instead of uncontrollable factors and inaction.

In face of Coronavirus, we have plenty of anxiety and fear, largely due to our concern and perception of uncontrollable factors, whether conscious or unconscious. Humans regard uncontrollable things as threats, and the nature of tending to avoid harm arouses our emotions and affects our behaviors.

Under influence
Our attitudes, opinions and emotions
Resource allocation
Coronavirus, environment

We cannot control Coronavirus and the external environment, but we can control and influence our emotions of anxiety and panic, as well as the negative energy thus incurred. We can detect such emotions, accept and reconcile ourselves, and focus on those factors and things that are under control.

The evolution of the disaster is uncertain, but we are certain of ourselves. Just look at the positive energy around us.

Accountability is to move forward rather than criticize afterwards

By tracking and measuring progress and results, we communicate frankly, review the past, learn the lessons and move forward, rather than being trapped in blame for yourself and others.

The process determines the results, and it is equally important to track and measure milestones and results. The tracking process helps us adjust the direction and progress in a timely manner and the degree of support needed. It also drives us to communicate with stakeholders immediately and transparently, which facilitates us to acquire feedback, understanding and support from others. Finally, we accept both successes and failures and learn our lessons.

I want to place special emphasis on frank communication, which includes communicating your decisions, sharing the reasons and relevant information about your decisions frankly and transparently, and revealing your opinions and emotions.

Trust stems from transparency instead of unpredictability of leaders, which is also an important manifestation of accountability.

All in all, accountability is result-oriented. It is the consciousness and behavior of overcoming difficulties and moving forward pragmatically, which is also a kind of professionalism.

A leader must attach great importance to the leadership in crisis: accountability!