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Accountability is about taking responsibility for your words and actions. For what you say and what you do. It is clear that in any type of organisation- be it in business or otherwise, a person is accountable for the areas for which he/she is responsible.

However, interestingly, how far up the organisation does accountability go? Is the top or for that matter a senior person accountable for everything that goes on in his/her area of responsibility?

Or only for something he/she has personally overseen? Let me illustrate with a few examples. If a border insurgency is not prevented, is the Chief of the Army Staff personally accountable? If a shareholder has not got the right amount as dividend, is the Chief Executive Officer of that organisation personally accountable? If a criminal is not tracked, is the Chief of Police personally accountable?

No, you might say. While they are the heads of their organisations, they are not personally accountable for every single thing that happens. Yet by virtue of their positions they are overall accountable for anything that happens within their area of responsibility.

If this be true, words cannot describe the shoddy and unprofessional manner in which Mr. Gurdarshan Singh, IG of Police in Meerut held a press conference to gloat that his cops had arrested the murderer of young Aarushi Talwar. This case captured the interest of the entire nation. The killer said Mr. Singh- was the girl’s own father.

On July 11, more than 50 days later, the nation’s premier investigation agency, the CBI gave a clean chit to Dr. Rajesh Talwar, the dead girl’s father. He walked out a free man from the jail.

Gurdarshan Singh has not said a word in public to apologize for the ghastly mistake he made. If he was not personally responsible for the investigation and made comments based on what his subordinates told him, why did he make such claims?

You cannot be accountable -only when it suits you. You cannot say you were not responsible when things go wrong.

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This is Post No: 225  of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.