CEO Advisory


In a Globally Unhinged Workplace of Today, Civility Doesn’t Replace Accountability – FIVE Ascending Levels of Accountable That Leads to Massive ROI Now & Tomorrow!

The scene has been played many times before … In our post COVID world, it is raising its ugly head at warp speed. When one fails to heed the lessons from history or lives in an altered mental state of denial, then the scene continues to recycle.

The scene … When individuals can’t perform, refuse to perform or believe they know best while actually under-performing, it’s typically for one of three critical factors. The lack the Knowledge, Skills and/or Abilities (KSAs) drive dwarfed experiences and perspectives. This then reveals itself by impeding individuals and organizations’ ability to truly excel at the Tasks, Duties and/or Responsibilities (TDRs) charged with. And, add a dose of motivation and desire and then the scene then plays out like this – The attempt at ACCOUNTABILITY starts to play out, and immediately a claim of lack of CIVILITY is thrown. This is most often a red-herring and merely a power deflection move to draw attention away from the real matter of ACCOUNTABILITY!

COVID has accelerated the TDRs and KSAs of the professional and business workplace of January 2020 by five-to-ten years into the future. Organizations that are just waking up to these realities have placed themselves and their constituents in grave circumstances of being made irrelevant by those progressive professionals around them!

Teaching, talking, training and coaching Civility is a massive act of trickery and a gross miss spend on capital, as CIVILITY is a natural outgrowth when ACCOUNTABILITY happens first. Lack of civility is the outgrowth when there is negotiated, compromised or no ACCOUNTABILITY – interesting paradigm flip!

Treating and engaging one with the respect that one has earned or that a situation dictates, is of course always the etiquette rules one should live by. However, that does not negate a higher calling, ACCOUNTABILITY.

Every individual and organization that has pulled through challenging times and every individual and organization that thrives while others fall into demise does so through the lens of ACCOUNTABILITY.

Civility Doesn’t Replace Accountability.

Civility does not give individuals or organizations permission to run and hide from reality. Civility does not give permission to individuals to recreate facts in the face of one’s personal agenda that fails to serve others self-interest. Civility does not allow the politics of individual or organizational agendas to live at the expense of the purpose of an organization. Civility should never be the trump card to a discussion, when an individual or an organization is on a collision course with implosion. Civility is an accelerated trajectory to ultimately imploding the culture of achievement, as it obliterates the levels of accountability that must be present. Civility should not be the acceptable approach when dealing with uncivilized threats to an individual or organization (or society) – as history overwhelming demonstrates how good people lose and losers win.

Thirty years of personal research, 31-books in 21-languages and real-time client proof clearly demonstrate that there are FIVE Ascending Levels of Accountable Civility in a globally unhinged workplace that leads to massive ROI now and tomorrow. I address this in my best-selling graduate management textbook, THE MANAGERIAL-LEADERSHIP BIBLE with PEARSON EDUCATION (Dr. Jeffrey Magee | Books / Managerial Leadership Bible ( and in YOUR TRAJECTORY CODE: How to CHANGE YOUR DECISIONS, and DIRECTIONS, to BECOME PART of the TOP 15 HIGH ACHIEVERS with John WILEY.

You can be civil all day long, but if in the end you implode because of lack of accountability, then accountability counts and civility kills!

For an organization or individual to reach ultimate levels of achievement and success, ACCOUNTABILITY must take place first. It reveals itself in these five ascending ways:

  1. Individual
    The first level is INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY and is demonstrated by thriving individuals within thriving organizations, as they assume ownership and self-accountability of doing the right work product, saying the right thing, even if it’s not popular. Strong and successful people assume ownership and accountability first as a natural occurrence.

    I have written in previous C-Suite articles, that this is also seen here at this level and each level as a “Transformational” trait. Meaning self-accountability is seen as one is always evolving and innovating and seldom gets caught off guard (as most do). When abdicates personal Individual Accountability, they far too often find themselves in a cyclone of “change” as a reaction to a disruption around them and now they need for survival takes over all logic.

    When accountability at this level fails, there must be engagement and interventions of Coaching, Corrective Actions or Ramifications that are triggered.

  2. Systems
    The second level is SYSTEMS-of-ACCOUNTABILITY is a scene through the systems, operations, compliance, check-lists and technology that can be designed and deployed to hold individuals accountable behaviours, actions, mindsets that have been predetermined as success pathways. When individuals know these and adhere to them, it creates the second ascension level of Accountability to take place. These are created for individuals and organizations to attain peak performance and should always be calibrated to peak performance of everyone at every level as a minimum.

    When accountability at this level fails, there must be engagement and interventions of Coaching, Corrective Actions or Ramifications that are triggered.

  3. Customer
    The third level is CUSTOMER ACCOUNTABILITY (your external core constituent) is the connectivity that you have to your core customers and having a deeply connected relationship with them. This affords you the insights and ability to understand their business hierarchy reality in respect to their immediate, intermediate and long-term needs, plans and strategies. This insight will become your third and perhaps most lucrative accountability step, continuous real-time feedback will let you know when you are on the trajectory or off trajectory.

    When accountability at this level fails, there must be engagement and interventions of Coaching, Corrective Actions or Ramifications that are triggered.

  4. Peer
    The fourth level is PEER ACCOUNTABILITY and demonstrates the connections you have with your peers and willingness to be open, coachable and willing to listen to and on occasion revie Accountability. Does one have your back and do you have theirs, peers do. Peers is somewhat of a subjective calling and this can be a massive miss read, in exploring accountability engagements with peers, be cautious to weigh comments and feedback from colleagues. Understand that the peer may have the best intention, however, it is critically important to recognize at what business level they may be, as they may lack your KSAs and be years behind or below you in TDR accomplishments and those that may be years above or ahead of you – content is critical!

    You know someone is not playing fair or safe within PEER ACCOUNTABILITY if they can’t or don’t come directly to you with a concern and take their wounded ego directly to HR, Grievance and digress into childish tattle-telling to others – toxic. And when this happens you bank on claims of Civility is where one will run and hide – never mind ACCOUNTABILITY to the source, not the symptom.

    When accountability at this level fails, there must be engagement and interventions of Coaching, Corrective Actions or Ramifications that are triggered.

  5. Leader (Management, Supervisor, Boss, Parent, Etc.)
    With limited exception, the final level is LEADER ACCOUNTABILITY, this fifth level is the senior-most responsible party in an environment. When a parent is first in demonstrating, communicating or holding a child ACCOUNTABLE once they have passed the level of being able to process a fact and understand right from wrong, that housed is out-of-alignment. In an organization if the Boss has to be the first line of accountability to ensure right is right, right gets done first, that employees are doing what is expected, that everyone is working safe, etc., then that environment is out-of-alignment. At this level, trust, character, talent development has failed.

    When accountability at this level fails, there must be engagement and interventions of Coaching, Corrective Actions or Ramifications that are triggered.

    Be cautious of the individual that advocates CIVILITY first, typically this person once again will always “underwhelm you with their real performance” and “underachieve real KPIs of success” at any TDR in their realm of responsibility.

In the globally unhinged workplace of today, Civility doesn’t replace Accountability, and through these FIVE ascending levels of Accountability, you can experience, CIVILITY THROUGH ACCOUNTABILITY!

Written by Dr. Jeffrey Magee.

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Dr. Jeffrey Magee
C-Suite and Military General clients come to Dr. Jeffrey Magee for ENTERPRISE-WIDE Talent Development & Human Capital succession architecture. The need today to collapse down years/months/weeks into days is critical! Sustainable Solutions NOW. Jeffrey Magee, PhD/CBE/CMC/CSP/PDM is the “Thought Leaders Leader.” Jeffrey is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Professional Performance Magazine, editor of the LEADERSHIP MASTERY and SALES MASTERY blogs, a former nationally syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, as well as a publisher author of 31 books, translated into 21-languages, to include 4-Best Sellers (YOUR TRAJECTORY CODE/WILEY)) and 4 graduate management text books (THE MANAGERIAL-LEADERSHIP BIBLE/PEARSON EDUCATION). He is a leadership columnist, and highly sought global professional speaker on performance psychology.

The recipient of the United States Junior Chamber’s TEN OUTSTANDING YOUNG AMERICANS (TOYA) Award, and the United States National GUARD’s Total Team VICTORY Medal for civilian contribution to the Armed Services. Massive hyper GROWTH & PROFITABILITY is the resume of 100% of our 2020 clients - Business Growth & Leadership Development: Working with Organizations at the C-Suite level to protect & leverage their most valuable asset - their PEOPLE!

Dr. Jeffrey Magee is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.