My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so poplular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide the ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Accountability

Episode 28:  For The Good Of The Outfit

Henry:      This poop sheet’s just come in from General Clayton’s office down in Seoul.  The army has started rebuilding Taidong.  It’s going to be better than it ever was.  All new housing, a temple, a town hall with inside toilets, a shopping centre and they’re getting the first soft-ice-cream stand in all of East Asia.
Hawkeye:   That’s terrific.  I’m glad.  Now, what about rebuilding the truth?  This is compensation.  Where’s their admission of responsibility?
Henry:      Well, soft ice-cream is a pretty good admission!

Hawkeye and Trapper discover that a local village was accidentally shelled by the US, while operating on South Korean wounded.  As they try to get the Army to be accountable for their actions, they are confronted by a cover-up and are urged to keep quiet about the incident.

There is much discussion about the difference between responsibility and accountability and whether or not they are interchangeable terms. As a father of twins, I see responsibility and accountability as being like non-identical twins, similar in nature, but unique in personality. While they are closely related, they are two distinct expressions of the same paradigm with one fulfilling the other. To accept responsibility without any accountability is like making a commitment or confession without any consequences.  You could say that accountability is responsibility with skin on. Organisations or leaders who avoid accountability are diminishing the value of responsibility and vice versa.  When I accept responsibility for a task, I expect to be accountable for that task and when I admit responsibility for a failure, I expect to be accountable for that failure.

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