Accountability: Freedom and Responsibility without Control / Edition 1

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Authors Rob Lebow and Randy Spitzer show how to transform a business by replacing the control and manipulation that typically characterize the workplace with personal accountability. The book helps readers determine the level of accountability that exists in a company, discusses the "Seven S's of Accountability, " and introduces the "member citizen" concept and the metaphor of the Wise Counsel — a coach, mentor, and leader who functions as a resource, not a controller.

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Editorial Reviews

Written in the form of a narrative about five strangers traveling on a transcontinental train, this book looks at the past 50 years of control-based initiatives for improving business performance, challenging conventional beliefs about the value of TQM, MBO, incentive programs, and other programs. It introduces practical guidelines for transforming control-based operations into freedom- based work environments where employees design their own jobs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
In Accountability, Lebow and Spitzer, two executives from Tomorrow's Workplace Inc., look at the past 50 years of control-based initiatives, and challenge conventional wisdom about the true value of incentive programs, personal improvement plans, quotas and performance reviews. Using a narrative about five strangers on a train to develop their "Freedom-Based" approach, the authors introduce guidelines for transforming control-based operations into freedom-based work environments. Copyright (c) 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576751831
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Edition description: FIRST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

ROB LEBOW is the founder and CEO of The Lebow Companies, an international consulting and training firm that specializes in installing the Shared Values Process in companies of all sizes and in all sectors. He is the author of A Journey into the Heroic Environment.
WILLIAM L. SIMON is a professional writer who has written several books and coauthored such best-selling titles as Profit from Experience and On the Firing Line.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: A New Journey Begins 1
Pt. 1 The Control versus Freedom Dilemma 9
1 I'm Pedaling as Fast as I Can, But It's Not Fast Enough! 11
2 The Courage to Make the Change 17
3 Which Would You Rather Work In - A Freedom-Based or a Control-Based Work Environment? 25
4 Do Incentives Really Motivate People? Or Are They Just a Quick Fix? 41
5 Is Job Security Related to a Corporate Culture's Bottom Line? 51
6 Do You Want to Be Controlled? 71
7 Can We Overcome Human Nature by Trying to Control People? 85
8 Three Activities That Establish a Freedom-Based Workplace 93
Pt. 2 Creating the Transformation 107
9 The Transformation of National Stores: A Journey from the Old Control-Based Environment to the New Freedom-Based Workplace 109
10 The Wise Counsel 121
11 Creating the Right Conditions 141
12 Taking Personal Responsibility Is a Challenge for Everyone! 157
13 Transformation Begins with a Visionary Leader 169
14 The Freedom-Based Philosophy Is Adopted One Person at a Time 179
15 Owning Your Job Means No Excuses - The First Step to Freedom 189
16 Designing Your Job Means You Have the Power to Choose! 201
17 Finding Great People 215
Epilogue: Pete Williams: A New Journey Begins 225
The Freedom Survey (FS) 229
Notes 237
Glossary 241
Index 247
Acknowledgments 253
About the Authors 255
About the Company 257
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2004

    A Solid Effort!

    This book falls into the genre of business parables. Its optimistic theme is that freedom is a better management principle than control. Instead of relying on real-life examples, which might be hard to come by, the authors present a fictitious scenario in which wise older counselors impart the wisdom of freedom to young but amenable auditors. With freedom, workplace antagonisms and conflicts no longer fester. Employees cast aside their suspicions, differences, distrusts and other fruits of oppressive control, cooperating gladly and willingly in an atmosphere of near-utopian productivity. The real reward isn¿t corporate Eden, but personal accountability, freely given by employees who innovate and work hard because they are trusted. We trust that you¿ll know just how much freedom to apply before you create chaos instead of conscientiousness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2003

    Somebody Finally Got It Right!!!!

    This is a must read book if you are a CEO and you know where you are today is not where you should be or can be. If you feel your company is doing well but there is something missing, somewhere you need to be leading your company, you can sense it but you can¿t quite put your finger on it ¿ read the BOOK! Here¿s why. As a CPA I have been helping business leaders take fresh looks at their businesses, transforming them from ordinary business to better businesses for over thirty years. I have guided them through policy & procedure redesign, reengineering, incentive pay design/pay for performance compensation planning, performance measurement design and benchmarking, balanced scorecard and more. These companies have improved their bottom line. But it has always resulted in the sacrifice of something else in the business and the results are hard to sustain. I believe the missing links are shared values,real accountability, and a work environment where employees are free to choose to be accountable and own their jobs. Those are the missing links necessary to transform organizational culture and turn ordinary businesses into extraordinary enterprises. Lebow and Spitzer have created a process based on their own research and that of other leading consultants and researchers. A process that can be duplicated in your business; no matter how large or small. A process that engages your employees; from line positions all the way to the top. Many researchers have found some of the links, identified the companies that have done it, know the elements that distinguish the great companies from good companies that don¿t have all the pieces or a process to make the leap. In this book Lebow and Spitzer have really hit a home run!!! The book¿s format is a refreshing narrative that tells the story of how the process works, why it works and who can make the leap. Every CEO, COO, CFO, division manager, plant manager, supervisor regardless of the industry, government agency or non profit organization should read this book. Your own organizational transformation may be as close as your choice to read the book ¿ Accountability, Freedom and Responsibility Without Control. Without question, this is a book whose time has come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2002


    I have just finished reading Accountability¿Freedom and Responsibility without Control and now I understand why our valiant attempts at change were destined to fail. We tried everything to bring about alignment of mission, values, plans and effort: TQM, Empowerment and Outcome Driven Management were all "putting the cart before the horse." In spite of the fact that these were great creative and innovative ideas, none of these change initiatives worked because they all were an effort to impose accountability. Looking back, I now see that unless everyone is willing to take responsibility and to be accountable for his or her work without the controls we were trying to impose, accountability cannot occur. Lebow and Spitzer provide the "recipe" by which true Accountability becomes possible. I recommend the book to any organization that has struggled to make Accountability a reality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2002

    Whip to Wand

    How exhausted are you with trying to hire and fire those who intend to take advantage of you? Are you tired of babysitting your staff? Do you waste your time making sure everyone is doing their job? Are you convinced it's the only way to run your business and get results? Are you open to a new way of being - one that most everyone involved with your company would appreciate and one that would free you up to do what it is you do best? Are you ready to enjoy having a staff that is accountable and happy? Then this book is for you and your entire company. Randy and Rob have paved the way to a concept that is not only exciting and timely but also crucial in this evolving age of consciousness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2002

    A real breakthrough book!

    Lebow and Spitzer challenge most of the popular beliefs about how to run an organization and how to make people accountable. They present a clear and compelling case for "freedom and responsibility without control" as the only way for people in organzations to become truly accountable. I appreciate that the ideas presented are not just the opinions of the authors, but are well supported by the work of some of the most respected researchers and authors in print. The story format makes the main ideas very easy to understand and easy to apply in any organization, large or small.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2002

    Breakthrough Concept

    When you first pick up this book, it's a pleasant read about two businessmen who meet up on a train. It fast turns into a lively dialogue concerning the frustration of working in a control and rule based environment. Over the course of the ride, they meet with two other travelers, and the discussion results in the discovery of a process that allows for freedom and accountability to lead the way. Healthy doses of skepticism keep the topic real for the true business environment we work in. A must read for CEO's and presidents of organizations who want to see their people play at the top of their game!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2002

    Freedom versus Control

    You¿ll either love this book or hate it. There is no in between. If you are a die-hard control freak, then forget it. You won¿t learn a thing! But, if you have any trust at all in people, then give it a shot. Lebow and Spitzer take you through a typical conversation between a control freak, a motivation expert, a measurement/process advocate, and a wise old man who has learned that people have values and want to be great. All you have to do allow them the freedom of choice, ask them to be responsible for their choices, and then trust them. Maybe you¿re afraid that things will really fall down if you give up control. Or ¿ do you think your job is to `motivate¿ (i.e. manipulate) people. Or better yet, let¿s just get the processes and systems right and everything else works out fine. Well ¿ any argument you can come up with is already voiced in Accountability (and extremely well I might add). And ¿ they are all gracefully and respectfully dispelled by the wise old man. Lebow and Spitzer hit upon what¿s been plaguing management science and practice for over a hundred years. The authors successfully dichotomize control and freedom and demand you make a choice. If you choose control, there are literally thousands of ways you can better control people. The end result: you may feel good, but your organization eventually goes down the tubes (along with you, unless you get out first). On the other hand, freedom of choice on the job is about responsibility and accountability. But, make no mistake about it. When you choose to do something, you are accountable ¿ not your boss ¿ but to your customers, your colleagues, and your values. It is time that managers of people and organizations realize that control is not the answer. And Accountability finally brings this to light ¿ directly and unequivocally. It is time for Corporate America and the rest of the world to realize that freedom is the answer, regardless of the question. Take a chance. Learn something that is against everything your management training and education has taught you ¿ and yet your heart tells you to follow ¿ if you have the courage. Read Accountability and make a choice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2002

    Accountability That Sticks

    What separates Lebow and Spitzer book from the rest is that it sticks with you. Is it true that experience is the best teacher? How many times have you read a book with seemingly good ideas, but the ideas never seem to get converted to the workplace? The unique dialogue in this book brings to life the characters in your world, including yourself. The way the book is written allows you to experience what the characters of the book are experiencing. And because you experience it, you own it. Everyday you can see the behaviors of the Lucys, the Yolandas and the Hanks of your organization. They are a real life reminder and a motivator to keep moving toward a freedom-based environment. The story of the worker at NASA has broken the log jam amongst my co-workers. It was an experience that many could relate too and has energizes our organization to address the concepts and principles so eloquently expressed in this book. Thank you for the creative genius of Lebow and Spitzer and the style in which they present their material.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2002

    Aha!!! Now I Understand

    There is a time and place for everything¿and Lebow and Spitzer have brought their insights forward at a critical time!! Leaders in public and private companies, government and non-profit agencies, education, etc. will be challenged, yet stimulated and energized by the thoughts presented. The authors have effectively distilled concepts and principles that have been talked about, yet most often danced around, for years (ages?) into a framework that helps readers envision how they can realistically begin the transition to become the Freedom-Based workplace we all desire. By bringing a focus to trust, values, and accountability the book helped me make sense out of my personal experiences, both as an employee and as an organizational leader in corporate America, that ultimately led me to leave 10 years ago and become self-employed. And more has challenged me to begin to assess the type of organization, control-based or freedom-based, I have created as a business owner. The right time for me...and I believe a must read for leaders at every level of every organization

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