Accountability is really important

In my last post, I commented that I believed that a CEO must lead by example, and that a CEO needed to seek out his team members as much as they needed to seek him or her out.

So, I was rather pleased when I read this Corner Office article by Adam Bryant whose latest interview was with Dan Ruch, chief executive of Rocketrip, a business travel software company.

See the article HERE

The interview really spoke to me about CEO accountability. Mr. Ruch commented that “Accountability is really important. You are accountable to your team, and part of accountability means being responsive. So it’s not O.K. to not respond to an email.” I wholeheartedly agree with this perspective.

Another key component for Mr. Ruch is to give an ownership stake to everyone. He recognizes there is an administrative cost and burden to doing that, but as he says, “What matters is the emotional attachment, the empowerment that employees feel when they own a part of the company.” Quite frankly, I’m not sure I agree with this point. I believe giving equity in a small business is less valuable than setting up a profit sharing plan where everyone gets to share in the success of the company.

I do admire Mr. Ruch’s perspective on hiring which is to always hire someone who is smarter or better than you at your job. And a corollary to this is to construct a team that genuinely likes being together. It certainly helps the CEO whose job among other things is to build the right kind of culture for the Company’s overall success.

Thanks to Veronica Rao of Boucher & Co, who helps me gather my thoughts as succinctly as possible. Many thanks to Theresa Phan of Boucher & Co whose excellent graphics always accompany my posts. And as usual, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

What kind of CEO do you want to become?


As many of you know from my previous posts, I often comment on Adam Bryant’s pieces in the New York Sunday Times column, The Corner Office. I read the column weekly because I am fascinated by what drives business owners to become CEO’s, how and when and why did they become a CEO, what are their opinions, what are their management styles, how do they think, how and why and what types of people do they hire, and what are the trends they follow.

I was particularly intrigued with the headline of this piece about Tien Tzuo, founder and chief executive of Zuora, a software company for subscription businesses which was, “Don’t Expect Me to Manage You.

Obviously, every CEO has a different style and approach. Mr. Tzuo prefers being a leader, not a manager, and expects his employees to manage him. He says, ‘Don’t expect me to manage you. You have to manage me.” And, he doesn’t do performance reviews. “What I found was the one-on-ones just became this laundry list of issues. And I want most of the issues exposed in a team environment, because most of these things have to be worked out in a group setting.” He believes that if his team members want feedback, they have to ask for it, and then he’ll give them as much as they ask for!

I have to say I find Mr. Tzuo’s approach fascinating, and I’m not sure his leadership and management style is for me, nor can I, nor do I recommend that approach to my clients. I believe that a CEO must lead by example, and I also believe that the CEO needs to seek out his team members as much as they need to seek him or her out. Leadership and/or management is not a one way street.

I am always interested in what my readers think . What kind of CEO are you? What kind of CEO do you want to become? What kind of CEO do you want to work for? Please forward me your comments.