Third Annual Survey Determines Best and Worst in Workplace Accountability


Polls Are Now Open



Accountability matters to every business and is one of the major challenges corporate leaders face. However, it also can be one of the most important factors leading to success.

For the past three years, accountability expert Greg Bustin has selected candidates for his “Best & Worst in Accountability Survey” based on events that occurred throughout the year. Corporate leaders are then asked to cast their votes for the “most accountable” and “least accountable.” These candidates include the top five leaders who demonstrated the best in accountability and five other leaders who, when a tough decision was called for, failed to hold themselves and others accountable.

Last year’s survey drew an international response and when the votes were tallied up, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke was voted the “most accountable” person in 2015. When Stritzke announced REI would close all 143 of its stores the day after Thanksgiving on the year’s busiest shopping day, he was putting the company’s money where its mouth has been: namely, demonstrating REI’s core values that have helped make this outdoor recreation outfitter one of the Best Places to Work since 1998.

Its rigged emissions testing in 11 million of its cars made Volkswagen the number one choice as the “least accountable” organization of 2015. After the scandal hit, the German carmaker said, Auf Wiedersehen to its CEO Martin Winterkorn.

In 2014 CVS Caremark CEO Larry Merlo was selected as the “most accountable” person in 2014 for his decision to stop selling tobacco products in a place where healthcare is delivered—even with $2 billion at stake. Coming in a close second was CEO Alan Mulcahy who was chosen for his outstanding leadership and the successful turnaround of the Ford Motor Co.

Meanwhile voters selected former U.S. government secretary Eric Shinseki the “least accountable” person of 2014 for his shoddy management of the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2014, the VA increased the average wait time to 114 days, and its botched paperwork, outmoded systems and ineffective bureaucracy resulted in confirmed deaths of at least 40 veterans.

This year, however, the survey is focusing entirely on business—not politics or nonprofits.  The polls will opened on January 2, and will close February 28.

Since 2005, Bustin has been a trusted advisor to CEOs and other key leaders, leading three executive groups and providing one-on-one coaching as a Master Chair for Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO organization. Bustin knows all too well that investing time and money in developing a team—corporate or otherwise—always has been important to leaders of high-performing organizations.

Bustin has dedicated his career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of companies on this crucial topic of accountability. During the last six years, he has interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 executives around the world—from companies that include, but are not limited to, Marriott, Container Store, Ernst & Young, Sony, Herman Miller, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines—to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust, and fulfillment.

Lack of accountability is the single greatest obstacle facing even the most experienced leaders. It saps morale, drains profits, and disenfranchises employees—and can shift your team into crisis mode on a daily basis.

Accountability is a support system for winners.  In high-performing organizations, accountability is not just top-down. It’s bottom-up and side-to-side.


About the Author: Greg Bustin’s newest book, ACCOUNTABILITY: THE KEY TO DRIVING A HIGH-PERFORMANCE CULTURE (McGraw-Hill) explains how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust and fulfillment. Bustin writes a blog read by more than 6,000 executives globally, and his views on leadership have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Dallas Morning News and other major publications. 


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