PonderThis: Accountability for Accountability


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A change leader can delegate parts of an initiative, but ultimately accountability for accountability remains with the leader.

Gartner Group, the tech analysis organization famous for their predictions, is out with their prognostication about the use of Social Networking in business.  (See the whole article here).   One of their pronouncements is unfortunately very familiar:

“Through 2012, over 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail.”

Through the rise of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) we saw a similar early frenzy for adoption and similar failure rates.  Based on Gartner’s research, we have not learned much.  The main reason they cite is that although these are branding, marketing, PR and even sales initiatives they are launched and/ or driven by IT.

The leaders of an organizational, process or culture change can delegate parts of that initiative.  Communications, planning, software, training and all the parts needed to see effective change.  But only a leader with sufficient credibility and influence can be accountable for the entire initiative.

In one of the most powerful passages in Execution, the Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy says,  “And never launch an initiative unless you are personally committed to it and prepared to see it through until it’s embedded in the DNA of the organization.”  No technology-supported initiative is a Field of Dreams and anyone who has been involved with one knows:  Just because you build it does not mean that they will come.

But you will still have spent the money and time to build it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Barry Goldberg
Entelechy Partners
I. Barry Goldberg is managing director of Entelechy Partners, an executive coaching and leadership development firm headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. His practice focuses on senior executives, change leaders and bet-the-business program teams. Goldberg holds a graduate certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown University.


  1. Gartner is famous for making these “failure” predictions, but let’s recognize it for for what it is: marketing, not research.

    The fact is that any initiative that requires extensive organization change, such as TQM, CRM and now social business, is likely to fail when led by IT.

    What would be more interesting to me, and this would mean real research, is what percentage of social media projects are actually being driven my IT. My guess is that this is not the dominant approach, far from it. Marketing, customer service, and even sales departments are doing their own projects, and IT is not necessarily in the loop like the days when CRM was over hyped.

    So let’s say that only 20% of social media projects are IT-driven (.6 probability), and 70% of those fail. Then that’s just 14% of all projects. Not so impressive.

    In social media projects, I think the main cause of failure will have nothing to do with IT, but rather how senior leaders deal with a clash of the social culture with a command and control style of management.

    If enterprises are going to Gartner for advice, which is mainly an IT-focused analyst firm, that’s probably a sign of pending doom (.8 probability). Social media is a business initiative, not an IT project.

  2. I remember the following predictions:
    1985: The use of personal computers will cost the industry $300 Million because people will upload games and play all day long.
    1995: The use of Internet will cost the industry $1 Billion because people will surf all day long and not do their work.
    2005: The use of Social media will cost the industry $3 Billion because people will tweet and chat and don’t do their work.

    But what to do in the meantime?

    1990: 70% of PC integration will fail
    2000: 70% of Internet / e-commerce engagements will fail
    2010: 70% of social media projects will fail.

    2015: The use of XXX will cost the industry $5 Billion
    2020: 70% off XXX projects will fail

    Am I now authorized to start a market research firm ha ha ha



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