Rush Limbaugh said something crass. While a curious new step in his development, it was newsworthy despite past precedent. However, buried below the lead is how the aftermath struck another blow to the concept of leadership and our universal accountability gap.
Beyond the Rush flap itself; I look at attitudes that blur the line of our increasingly social landscape. The lack of boundaries and filters has seemingly led to the right to bear “verbal” arms and say anything about anyone at any time.
Regardless of the practitioner, after the apology and the “taken out of context” defense, the chute gets pulled with another accepted ripcord – Whatever!
In addressing the loss of sponsors, Limbaugh shared his experience of turning down bigger sponsors. If those companies leaving weren’t interested in him (and I paraphrase the Dunkin’ Donuts man), he would make more. Whatever!
Consider the pass-along nature of “Whatever” from leadership. An elected official told me how in the past, a store owner would tidy up inside and outside before opening. It was pride. Now, this person said, with increased fees and code frustrations, an entrepreneur looks and wonders when the city is coming to clean the sidewalk.
The adversarial nature of today’s filter-less society contributes too. Employees, now used to extinction whether by their own hand or circumstance, have become increasingly toxic. Even if, or when, they get ownership, they don’t trust it. Ownership reputation, personal reputation, customer experience…Whatever! There are other jobs.
A current marketing campaign by GE offers hope. It’s an effort (seen here) to at least promote the concept of pride and customer experience as part of return on investment.
My first real job was cleaning a beauty salon every Monday – traditionally a day of rest in that business. I inherited the job from my older brother. For a time, we did it together as he trained me to take over.
Not only did we enjoy the camaraderie, we had pride at the end of the effort. One Tuesday morning, the owner was met by a state license inspector. Often, some salons would use a slower Tuesday to catch up on cleaning. (“Oh, we’ll get to it like we always do.”)
The inspector looked around for some time. All he saw was the magnum opus of cleanliness from my brother and me and he said he had never seen a salon so clean on a Tuesday morning. We were rewarded financially, but my personal pride in that moment still lifts me today.
This year is the 30th anniversary of Ken Blanchard’s book The One Minute Manager. Times change (a subject I discussed with him). The question is: can leaders through consistency, genuine inclusion and staying in the lighter shades of gray with decision-making bridge the accountability gap?
Blanchard has championed concepts like “worthwhile work” and “catching people doing things right.” GE is speaking to those points. Ownership, while a corporate buzzword for many, is a trait admired in the new economy (think Zappos).
I would like your thoughts on the accountability gap because I wonder what the next step is from the edge of “Whatever!”