Celebrating accountability

NY Times has a profile on Kevin Rollins CEO of Dell. While it does a pretty good job of presenting the human side of Mr. Rollins, there was one thing in the article which really got my attention:

Mr. Rollins, 52, had been C.E.O. for barely a year when Dell, the computer maker, announced last month that it had fallen short of expectations – both its own and those of analysts. The company’s profits did rise 28 percent in the second quarter, based largely on strong overseas sales, but total revenue came in several hundred million dollars short of projections…

Despite all of this, Mr. Rollins blamed himself for Dell’s disappointing earnings. “Frankly,” he said during a conference call with analysts, “we executed poorly on managing overall selling prices” – in particular those machines sold to consumers.

Celebrating accountability? As a worker bee in a company, we are constantly coached that we have to take accountability and ‘fess up if we mess up. It seems that this does not go all the way to the CEO’s office though. If one CEO stands up and takes responsibility, why should we get all warm and fuzzy about him? Isn’t this supposed to be a basic requirement to be recognized as a leader? Somebody enlighten me!

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