What's the difference between accountability and responsibility? It's an important question these days as businesses wrestle with decisions that will affect their destinies for years to come. You can be responsible without being accountable, but not vice versa. The folks who are accountable are the ones who go to the guillotine; those who are merely responsible get to watch, peering nervously from behind pillars and around corners. There's room for only one head in the guillotine. That's why it takes courage to accept accountability (just ask the chief executives of Ford Motor Co. and United Air Lines Inc., who recently became public poster boys for their companies' high-profile business calamities).
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