Vistage has a neat little acronym for the reasons that CEOs join and it is:
To elucidate, MAGIC stands for:
M - they Make Better Decisions simply because they can test them with the co-operation of a peer group.
A - they feel themselves Accountable to both the group and the Chairman for actions that they take as a consequence of the help given to them.
G - the system helps members of the groups to Grow on a personal basis through consistent learning.
I - membership of a Vistage peer group helps to overcome that feeling of Isolation that all leaders feel from time to time. It offers someone to talk to.
C - the group discussion helps members through the process of Change that can otherwise be difficult.
The factor that may seem a little odd is that of accountability. Members of a peer group are there by their own volition, wanting to learn and grow. How, then, can they be accountable to anyone in the group?
The fact is that if a member brings an issue to the group and they put time and effort into helping solve it, then the member feels accountable to the group for any subsequent action and in the same way to the Chairman following a one-to-one during which some action has been agreed.
In a business however there is a marked difference.
Decisions about action should be discussed and agreed on a joint basis, that is, with the agreement of both or all concerned on what is to be done and what are the expectations and objectives.
If a member of the team is trusted to the extent that decision making is in their hands rather than those of the leader then the quid pro quo is that there has to be accountability for the results.
This enables proper feedback to be offered and possibly permits changes to be made in an atmosphere of co-operation.
However, the very word accountability these days has been so over abused by the media that it has become almost a term of reprimand. Who is accountable for this? Whose fault is it? Who is to blame? and above all, heads must roll.
All of these are symptoms of a pernicious culture that seeks to put blame on to someone else rather than accept responsibility for a situation.
Heaven forbid that any business takes this approach. By all means have people accountable for their attitude, their behaviour and their actions but never cast blame on to them if something that they do goes amiss.
If we are to have a learning environment then, as we all make mistakes from time to time, the optimum approach is to learn from them. Agreed that repeated mistakes may well signify a lack of ability or desire but if we analyse then it will be all too evident that these happen on rare occasions.
It is always easier to reprimand and find fault than it is to give praise and thanks but we need to make the effort. The results can be startling.
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