I want to be successful. But what I don’t want to do is sacrifice myself, my wife, or my family, for success. Can I have it all? In truth, when I used to think about these things at a relatively low level, they weren’t really thoughts at all, they were simply intellectual conversations. But they become more real to me as I become more successful, I wonder now how I juxtapose them in a way which is meaningful and relevant.
Executive Accountability – The challenge of accountability.
When I go to the Board, or I indicate the results of a particular campaign, quarter, or whatever, I can’t point to anybody in the organization. I’m the CEO. As CEO, I take 100 percent accountability for everything that happens. Therefore, if somebody screws up, I screwed up. If somebody didn’t do their job, I didn’t do my job. If the results weren’t there, I didn’t produce them.
In other words, for the CEO of the organization, I take ultimate accountability for everything that happens in the organization. It’s truly that simple.
If I then, as CEO, translate that level of accountability to the executive management team who reports to me, they must take ultimate accountability for their areas of responsibility. They need to understand what they’re responsible for, and what I hold them accountable for. If they’re not very clear on that, they can’t take accountability. And if they’re not clear on that, they can’t strive towards results.
I have, on multiple occasions, had various vice presidents responsible for departments, or presidents, responsible for operating subsidiaries at some operational level, not taking responsibility for the results. The question in my mind, at all times, is whether they really understand that they are accountable for the results.
If they view themselves as being accountable for the results, then I can hold them accountable. If they don’t view themselves as being accountable, then I obviously cannot.
I have one of two choices. I either have to sharpen my communication or I simply have the wrong person.
But, at the end of the day, when it comes to executive management, I need to have people around me who hold themselves accountable for their commitments.
Commitment…and accountability…are one in the same. You can’t have accountability without commitment and you cannot have commitment without accountability.
My struggle is not the struggle of success
I’ve been fortunate to achieve success at virtually every level. My real struggle is the struggle of achieving success and saving my soul at the same time. As I take a look around me at those people who have achieved success—Donald Trump and others—I wonder to what extent, in pursuing that goal, they simply end up sacrificing. I can’t sacrifice my soul. I refuse to sacrifice my redemption. Nor will I sacrifice who I am.
Every CEO, at the end of the day, has to think about meeting his maker.
Therefore, what he does today impacts his future, his pride, and his ability to be able to influence his family and his legacy to his children. There comes a time in which what he thinks about today directly impacts the future of not only his generation but generations to come. The business decisions that he makes today will ultimately have an effect on them. It represents a check on what he or she decides to do each and every day, not for himself – not for his company – but for his future. And for how he stands up in the continuum of time.
Many people wrestle with so many concepts. I tend not to wrestle with many of them. My primary concern is how I achieve success in this lifetime and yet assure myself a place in the kingdom of heaven. “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of the needle than it is for a rich man to get to the kingdom of heaven.” What does this possibly mean? And how do I deal with that? If I only understood how to juxtapose the two, route would be so much easier.
I’ve wondered from time to time how I continue to pause at the basic theorem of life that it is harder for a person of means to get to the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. It was said with huge authority and I abide the authority. However, I question how I create impact in my life, day to day, and yet assure myself a place in the kingdom of heaven.