Accountability Is the Answer

For over two decades, Partners In Leadership has tested and refined the implementation of our Accountability Training results-producing principles and methodologies that assist leaders and teams in achieving their Key Results. These principles and practices of positive accountability are captured in their No. 1 New York Times bestselling leadership book, The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability.

Partners In Leadership's successful track record has established them as both thought leaders and expert practitioners in coming to grips with how to create rapid culture change and greater accountability at every level of the organization. They have trained over a million people and have thousands of clients in over 50 countries. Their clients include 25% of the "most admired companies in the world," almost half of the Dow Jones Industrial Average Companies, and nearly half of the Fortune 50's largest companies in the United States.


Why accountability?

How you use accountability defines the working relationships fundamental to every activity that occurs within your organization. Accountability is the guiding principle that defines how we make commitments to one another, how we measure and report our progress, how we interact when things go wrong, how much ownership we take to get things done… It is, in essence, the nerve center that runs throughout every part of the organization, through every working relationship to every member of every team.

In many organizations, accountability is often done in a way that can actually sabotage your ability to get results. When we start working with a client, we often hear people describe accountability as something that happens to them when things go wrong, rather than something they do to themselves to ensure results and success. How you go about creating accountability matters. Often, it leads to what we call the Accountability Paradox: the harder you try to create accountability, the less accountable people actual become. This happens because people are reacting to the manner in which imageaccountability is approached.

Accountability, used effectively, is a skill you can develop just like any other skill, and while it is not a difficult skill to acquire and hone, it does require a high degree of conscious effort. When you do it right, you'll also find it the fastest way to improve morale. Getting people to take personal ownership for advancing the mission of the organization and achieving Key Organizational Results is the most important step an organization intent on performance improvement can take.

Ready to transform your culture with Accountability Training? We have experts standing by to answer all your questions!

Pie ChartHave you ever felt that you would have done things differently if it were your own company?
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Pie Chart Have you ever found yourself waiting to see if a situation would resolve itself?
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Pie Chart Did you ever feel totally powerless, with no control over your circumstances or situation?
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  • YES
Pie Chart Have you ever seen a problem developing in your organization but did nothing about it?
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Pie Chart Have you ever said, "Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it"?
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Innovative solutions founded on decades of research

The Partners In Leadership Three Tracks To Creating Greater Accountability--Self, Culture, and Others, Accountability Training, and Consulting Services, form the most comprehensive and proven approach to creating greater workplace accountability.

Our research shows that a lack of personal accountability for achieving organizational results is a common organizational challenge:

  • 83% feel they would do things differently if it were their own company.
  • 63% found themselves waiting to see if a situation would resolve itself.
  • 85% have felt powerless and that they had no control over their situation.
  • Almost 60% admitted that they saw a problem developing but did nothing about it.
  • 76% have fallen into the "just tell me what to do" trap.

These results suggest that today's difficult business environment and tough economic times present even more challenging obstacles to getting results. These obstacles are real and often cause people to feel their ability to impact results is out of their control, leading to frustration, finger-pointing, blame, and a general sense that they really can't make the difference that they had hoped to make.

Partners In Leadership's The Oz Principle Accountability Training provides a proven and powerful methodology for helping people at every level of the organization take greater personal accountability for overcoming the obstacles they face and asking "What else can I do?" to achieve Key Organizational Results.


Quick facts about Accountability Training

We have been the premier provider of Accountability Training services throughout the world for over two decades.
The Oz Principle is ranked as one of the top 5 bestselling business books in the "leadership" and "performance" categories since its initial publication.
The Oz Principle Accountability Training is used at the White House Executive Office of the President of the United States.
imageThe Executive Office of the President has 1800 employees that support the President, First Lady, and the Vice President. These functions include the travel office, mailroom, security, IT, accounting, finance, budget, and facilities. All managers and directors of these functions have been trained.

Employees are on-call 24/7 and constantly deal with urgent matters and live in a world of high expectations for accuracy and follow-through. There is a common thread of loyalty, proficiency, and professionalism amongst them. As one IT manager said, "The President's expectation is that his Blackberry will always be connected and our job is to ensure that." Another manager said, "I always know where the President is and ensure travel plans are in coordination with his support team, security, and the military."

How is The Oz Principle Accountability Training helping the team at The Executive Office of the President?

The training is being used to increase efficiencies between functions to help prevent the tendency to get bogged down in the activity of the job. The common language of accountability is also helping the employees deal with the unique work-life balance issues that are unique to this environment. In addition, Focused Feedback is providing a pattern of feedback that enhances communication and accountability.

The Steps To Accountability posters, from The Oz Principle Accountability Training, hang in offices of those who support the President of the United States of America, the Office of the First Lady, and the Vice President.

Over a million people have been trained in the Partners In Leadership Accountability Training.
All 13 of the world's 13 largest pharmaceutical companies utilize the Accountability Training.
Our training has produced several billion dollars' worth of equity, revenue, and cost savings for our clients.
We have thousands of clients in over 50 countries.

Our books and training materials have been translated into over 14 languages.
Partners In Leadership is the premier provider of Accountability Training services for many notable clients. See the partial list below of some of these outstanding organizations that utilize The Self Track, The Culture Track, and The Others Track Trainings:
  • Amdocs, the worldwide market share leader in the Telecommunications Software Management
  • Hormel Foods, one of the largest food manufacturers on the Fortune 500 list
  • Halliburton, the world's largest provider of products and services to the energy industry
  • Gilead Sciences, ranked by BusinessWeek as #1 in its annual listing of the 50 Best-Performing Companies
  • Finisar, the global leader in fiber optics
  • Falken Tire, the fastest growing tire company in the world
  • El Paso Gas, the operator of the largest gas transportation system in the United States
  • Dole Packaged Foods, the global leader in fruit and nutrition
  • DFW Airport, the third busiest airport in the world
  • Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a leading children's charity
  • Celebrity Cruise Lines, deemed in a readers survey, as having 7 of the 10 "World's Greatest Ships"
  • Cabela's, the world's largest direct marketer of outdoor related merchandise
  • Brinker International, one of Fortunes' "most admired companies"
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, the largest single state insurance plan for the BCBS Association
  • Hilton Hotels, the global leader in hospitality, welcoming more guests in more countries than any other full-service hotel brand
  • Abiomed Europe, launched the world's smallest heart pump
  • Accor North America (Motel 6), the largest owned and operated hotel chain in the United States
  • The American Heart Association, one of the most recognized and longest standing and largest non-profit organizations in the world
  • Apple, one of the most admired companies in the world
  • Architects Hawaii, the NAIOP Hawaii Architecture "Firm of the Year," also named as one of Hawaii Business Magazine's "Top 20 Best Places to Work" and named on the Zweig White Hot Firm list as one of the "150 fastest-growing US and Canadian firms"
  • Astellas, the second largest pharmaceutical company in Japan
  • American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) with over 50,000 teams, 250,000 volunteers, and more than 650,000 players
  • Wal-Mart, with over 2 million associates
  • Barilla, recognized as one of the best-run companies in Italy
  • Jacob's Engineering, the 3rd largest engineering firm on the Fortune 500 list
  • Johnson and Johnson, the world's largest medical device company and sixth largest consumer health company
  • Kellogg's, the world's leading producer of cereal and convenience foods
  • Kimberly-Clark, holds the No. 1 or No. 2 brand share in more than 80 countries and is ranked first in the personal care category in Dow Jones' Sustainability World Index five years in a row
  • Kroger, one of the largest retail food companies in the United States
  • Lockheed Martin, the largest provider of IT services to the US Government
  • Louis Vuitton, the leading luxury brand in the world
  • Luxottica Retail, the world's largest eye-wear company
  • McKesson, the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America, distributing one-third of the medicines used in North America
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance, ranked #127 on the Fortune 500 list
  • News Corp's Dow Jones, the largest and most successful news media organization in the world and producers of the Wall Street Journal and Barons Magazine
  • New York Presbyterian Hospital, one of the top 5 hospitals in the country
  • Northrup Grumman, 4th largest defense contractor in the world
  • Northwestern Mutual, largest direct provider of individual life insurance in the US and industry leader in customer satisfaction
  • Oak Grove, one of the first 50 NASA Explorer Schools and the only special education school in the country to be a NASA Explorer School
  • Oceanoptics, inventor of the world's first miniature spectrometer delivered all around the world with one on the Moon and one on Mars
  • Overlake Hospital, voted the "Favorite Health Care Company" in the Pacific Northwest
  • Philpotts & Associates, received the top "Best In Show" award from the IIDA (International Interior Design Association) for work they did restoring the famous landmark Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach
  • Roche Pharmaceuticals, largest diagnostic company in the world
  • US Social Security Administration, world's largest retirement organization
  • Sony, 5th largest media conglomerate in the world
  • St. Mary Medical Center, for the seventh consecutive year was named the most preferred hospital in Southern California's High Desert/Victor Valley region
  • Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse company in the world
  • Troon Golf, the largest golf management company in the world
  • USA Track and Field, the world's oldest organized sport
  • Valassis, the nation's leading media and marketing services company
  • Pfizer, the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company. Among many applications, Pfizer used the Self Track Training to launch Lipitor, the top-selling branded pharmaceutical in the world
  • Lilly, consistently ranked as one of the best companies in the world to work for
  • Boston Scientific, one of the world's largest medical device companies dedicated to less-invasive medicine
  • Guidant launched the world's leading stent platform, was listed in the Fortune 500 was recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the "Best Companies to Work For in America", and was included in Industry Week Magazine's "100 Best Managed Companies in the World"

...And hundreds of other Fortune 500 and well-known companies who are leaders in their industries globally.

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Consistent, proven results...Year after year

The following are case studies and examples that show how clients have used the Partners In Leadership Three Tracks to Greater Accountability to produce impressive results:

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Winning with the perfect trifecta of performance...

The Results: Guest loyalty increases by 17%, team member loyalty up by 15% while also increasing revenue!

The Story: One client, the global leader in hospitality, used the Self Track Training to help them achieve their desired results in all three major results areas, which included guest loyalty, revenue, and team member loyalty. The Oz Principle Trainingwas introduced in May. By December, they had seen significant increases in all three Key Result areas: guest loyalty improved from 52% to 61%, revenue rose from 102% to 106%, and team loyalty increased from 71% to 82%. These were huge wins and represented the first time all three results increased in such a short time. The General Manager credited three specific things for producing these results:
  1. Getting everyone clear on the top results they needed to achieve,
  2. Creating alignment around the results throughout the company, and
  3. Creating accountability to deliver the results at every level of the company.
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Getting focused and getting results...

The Results: A story about how net sales exceeded prior year sales by 12% and budget by 10%. Operating profit surpassed the prior year by 65% and planned budget by 19%.

The Story: Several years ago KCHC was a budding star in the overall Kimberly-Clark business portfolio. Projected high sales and profit-growth rates, a function of organic business growth in the North American and international markets, coupled with plans for selected acquisitions in related businesses, painted a bright picture.

However, the performance of the past year had not lived up to the advanced billing. With two months remaining in the year, the organization would not meet budgeted targets for net sales and operating profit for the second straight year. To make matters worse, the forecast for the coming year looked even more discouraging with a relatively flat sales projection and continued erosion in profit, all caused by rising input costs and an increasingly competitive marketplace.

With this picture as the backdrop, we began assisting Joanne Bauer, the KCHC President, with the Culture Track Training. At the very beginning of the culture change effort, we asked Joanne to define the top three desired organizational results KCHC was accountable to deliver. After some very productive dialogue, her team narrowed their focus from seventeen different results to just three, which they called the Big Three.

These results targeted net sales, operating profit, and gross margin. Defining the Big Three was the first crucial step toward creating accountability to deliver their desired R2 results. According to Jeff Schneider, Director of Strategic Business and Resource Planning, talk around the Big Three spread through the entire organization like wildfire, and people discussed them in every meeting they attended. In fact, the same sort of talk began showing up everywhere, as people realized just how serious the senior leaders were about achieving the Big Three, which people saw printed on binders and notebooks and posted on walls throughout the organization. The Big Three even appeared on labels affixed to packages in intra-company mail.

With this clear focus, people at every level of KCHC embraced a higher level of personal accountability for achieving Key Organizational Results and asked themselves the Above The Line question, "What else can I do to achieve the result?" The impact was nothing short of astounding.

Net sales exceeded prior year sales by 12 percent and budget by 10 percent. Operating profit surpassed the prior year by 65 percent and budget by 19 percent.

On top of all of this, KCHC announced the acquisition of two sought-after technologies for their portfolio of medical device offerings.

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Solving the emergency in the emergency room...

The Results: A story about an improvement from 47% to 92% efficiency in collecting critical information.

The Story: In today's complex work environments, it takes more effort than ever to capture people's hearts and minds but that effort always pays huge dividends. One of our clients who utilized the Self Track Training and who is ranked among the top ten hospitals in the country according to U.S. News and World Report's list of "America's Best Hospitals," was struggling to achieve a seemingly simple goal: obtaining complete next-of-kin information when patients first arrived in the emergency room. "Why," the emergency room doctors wondered, "do we get that information only 42 percent of the time?" "Liz," the manager responsible for that area, told us she felt extremely frustrated with the lack of progress and that it so completely absorbed her attention, she found herself talking about it with her staff all the time.

Even after Liz took everyone through specific training over several months on when and how to collect the right information, she was shocked when the number only rose to 47 percent of the time. She was inspecting what she expected, but that seemed to do very little to solve the problem. Would she need to follow people around, nagging them to do what she asked? She had always thought that they should just do it because it was part of their job. During one of our Self Track Workshops at the hospital it dawned on Liz that if she were going to see any real progress in collecting next-of-kin information, she needed to get people to understand the "why" behind the policy and to take personal accountability to Own It!® Helping them understand the "why" would, she hoped, help them do this.

Changing tactics, Liz brought the team together and spoke convincingly about the importance of collecting next-of-kin information. She shared two recent and compelling stories about the importance of next-of-kin information.


Click here to read the stories she told

Of the two stories she shared, one involved a college student who was rushed into the emergency room of another hospital in the system. The ER staff at that hospital failed to obtain her next-of-kin data before she grew unresponsive to treatment and died. After identifying the family and talking with them, they discovered that the student had been taking medication, a fact they could have obtained from a family member had they been able to access next-of-kin information when the patient became unresponsive. That information most likely would have enabled the treating physician to take the necessary steps to save the patient's life. In the second story, the staff of the same hospital did obtain next-of-kin data from an elderly gentleman admitted to the same ER. He also became unresponsive. In this case, however, the doctors were able to speak with his family, learn more about his condition, and take measures that ultimately saved his life.

These life-or-death examples struck a nerve with Liz's team. They always knew that collecting next-of-kin data was important, but these close-to-home experiences captured their attention in a different way. Making it even more personal, Liz asked her team to consider how they would feel if the person who died was their sister or their father. After hearing these two stories and understanding more deeply the "why" behind collecting next-of-kin information, each member of the team committed to get the information, no matter what.

In two short weeks, Liz's department went

from 47 percent to 92 percent efficiency

in collecting the next-of-kin information. More important, they did it without Liz micromanaging and continually harping on them to get it done. The people on her team now connected more personally with the reason behind the expectation: they took the Own It step and assumed personal accountability for this important departmental objective.

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Re-establishing credibility both inside and out...

The Results: Exceeded plan for customer retention rates for two consecutive years, met financial targets for three years in a row, and reduced administrative costs by 35%.

The Story: This leading Fortune 500 Company has one main focus: to help the people they serve improve their health and well-being. When they first contacted us, their service center was suffering from several years of sub-par performance, both financially and from a customer service perspective. After implementing the Self Track Training, their leadership team built a strong Culture of Accountability around their Key Results. Any hint of "victim" mentality was eradicated as people took ownership and responsibility for results. The focus throughout the organization became, "What else can I do?" to overcome obstacles and achieve the result.

The Vice President of Service Operations reported, "Over the past two years, we have re-established our credibility with our customers and our senior leadership team. Our retention rates have exceeded plan for two straight years; we have met our financial targets for three straight years; we have reduced our cost of administration by 35% and have done all of this within a more motivated and energized environment." Not only did they achieve the results they set out to accomplish, they have "set the standard within their business unit and continue to have a positive influence throughout the organization."

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Every Teller counts!...

The Results: Increased teller referrals 145% while increasing booked sales from those same referrals by 155%

The Story: Ranked as one of the top 50 largest banks in the nation by the Wall Street Journal, Commerce Bancshares, Inc., a 140-year old financial institution, invested in the Self Track training: "All of our managers have been through the training and we are now beginning a rollout of the training to front-line supervisors. In addition, all of our employees have been exposed to the Oz terminology and their managers are helping them to link their activities to the company's key results." As a result of implementing the Self Track, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. increased teller referrals 145% while increasing booked sales from those same referrals by 155% over the previous year. They received some excellent stories about employee initiatives that already have generated bottom line results. One of their executives said "This is one of the best investments we've made in training for our managers."

We feel certain that Harry S. Truman would agree. Truman worked at the National Bank of Commerce from April 24, 1903 to May 15, 1905. He received his review at the end of his first year at the bank from his supervisor, A. D. Flintom who wrote this of the young clerk: "He is a willing worker, almost always here and tries hard to please everybody. We never had a boy in the vault like him before. He watches everything very closely and by his watchfulness, detects many errors which a careless boy would let slip through. His appearance is good and his habits and character are of the best." Truman demonstrated the level of ownership and accountability consistent with the culture today at Commerce BancShares, Inc.

Sara E. Foster, SVP and Director of Human Resources confirmed that, "the common language - especially 'Staying Above The Line' and always asking 'What else can I do?' is heard throughout the organization. Managers are reporting a real difference in the way employees are taking ownership for achieving results and not letting obstacles stand in the way of finding solutions to everyday challenges."

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Accountability can create great partners!...

The Results: Achieved 20% positive variance over budget ROE figures and greatly improved claims performance, customer satisfaction, improved and solidified BEST ratings and created aligned business partners.

The Story: This Fortune 500 nationwide leader provides risk management and loss mitigation solutions to financial institutions. Partners In Leadership was contacted by a Senior VP of Balboa who had formally been with another Partners In Leadership client. He called us on his third day with the organization. They engaged us very quickly and implemented Self Track Training with their senior leadership team and then followed that up with a series of Accountability Training® and 90-Day Implementation Workshops. Balboa blew away their results in every major category they tracked. Ultimately, this would be key to preparing them for the buyout that would come two years later.

Balboa's property and casualty companies had maintained an A.M. Best Company "A" rating (Excellent) since 1990. The company was owned by Countrywide and took some significant hits in 2007 and 2008. Prior to the purchase of Countrywide, they were declassified by AM Best. The Accountability Training helped their organization rebound and refocus on profitable markets and regain their AM Best rating. Seeing the Accountability Training as an opportunity to create a strong business partner with one of their key customers, Balboa's Chief Claims officer referred Partners In Leadership to Cunningham Lindsey (who provides Balboa with a large portion of their outsourced claims work). They also became a Partners In Leadership client. Having the training in common helped strengthen the partnership with Balboa and Cunningham Lindsey and became key in helping Balboa significantly improve their claims performance and customer satisfaction. Using the training with key business partners provides a common language and focus that facilitates alignment and results. The Accountability Training can, indeed, be a strategic business solution throughout the entire business partner pipeline.

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Optimizing Call Center Operations. . .

The Results: Met goal of 90 seconds or less average handle time in all call centers for the first time.

The Story: Paine Webber, at the time a Fortune 500 global leader in providing financial services to private, corporate and institutional clients, had never met their goal on "handle time" for customer service. They implemented Self Track with their Call Center executive team. Two months after the training, every division of the call center met their goal of 90 seconds or less average handle time for the first time, ever. Partners In Leadership was quickly referred to the Corporate Learning and Development division to look at implementation throughout all of Paine Webber.

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The Results: Claims handling reduced from 10 days down to 3 days, improved morale, reduced turnaround time in word processing in spite of reduced staff and increased workload.

The Story: When one of FORTUNE Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies contacted Partners In Leadership to conduct an on-site workshop, the goal was to eliminate "The Blame Game" and focus on specific leadership issues through The Self Track Training. This company is one of the largest insurance companies in the country and their mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. As a result of implementing the Self Track Training for their top management, we helped them realize and achieve their company results; a reduction in claims handling time from 10 days down to 3, a positive change in mood and morale, and a reduction in word processing turnaround time, which continues below their 4-hour standard. All of this in spite of the fact that they reduced staffing and added record numbers of statements to be processed. The Operations Manager stated, "In addition to the statistical gains, I find it interesting to observe the obvious change in mood and morale in the departments for which I have responsibility. My belief is that the improvement in morale is a direct result of the learning that occurred in our sessions with our management team and team leaders."
"The introduction of The Oz Principle Accountability Training quickly changed our 'victim' perspective into one of empowered ownership and responsibility for results. Given my personal and professional experience for applying your principles of leadership, I highly recommend the program for any organization, either successful or challenged, that is looking to improve their overall performance."
Phil Boucher
Vice President Service Operations,
CIGNA HealthCare
"The message seemed so straight-forward that I elected to contract Partners In Leadership to share it with my leadership team. This clearly was not just another seminar."
John S. Bishop
Division Manager,
State Farm Insurance Co.