All That Glitters Is Not Effective

accountability is not a fad

As we wind down this year and look toward the next, let’s keep in mind this thought from the QBQ! book:

The old stuff is the good stuff.

I had a colleague years ago who often said this:

“That idea worked so well I stopped using it.”

It was his tongue-in-cheek way of chastising himself for letting good ideas, practices, and habits fall out of his life. Essentially, he was asking this question:

“What causes a person to get away from employing what works?”


Because a human is no different than a raccoon—nature’s masked bandit—who loves shiny objects.

And shiny objects are often new, cool, and different!

But not always better.

The calculator you see in the photo above is one I bought when I was a sophomore at Cornell University in …. September 1977.

It has traveled with Karen and me since our college days to Minnesota, Montana, and Missouri, back to Minnesota, and down to Colorado where it has sat in my home office for the 17 years we’ve lived in Bronco land.

And it has consistently done something extraordinary …


Since 2+2 still equals 4 and my antique Canon calculator still knows that, why would I need something new?

The analogy fits our organizations—and lives. If an idea like PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY still gets us there, do we really need shiny new training programs—let’s call them fads—in 2015?

No, we do not. Eliminating blame, finger-pointing, victim and entitlement thinking, lethargy, resistance to change, and procrastination are still and forever worthy goals.

And the good news, but not new news, is this:


So keep in mind, since all that glitters is not effective, it’s true—the old stuff is still the good stuff.

What good practices have you dropped but need to begin again?

What training fads has your organization engaged in that failed?

What would a return to PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY do for your team? You? 🙂

Comment below!

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9 Responses

  1. We took up belly dancing before our Friday lunch HR training sessions. While not a training fad, it did make us all throw up a little beforehand and as a result, collectively we’ve lost 74 pounds the last 4 months. Bwaaaa haaa!!!! Good post. I enjoyed it.

  2. It’s not to say that other training efforts are a waste of time, however it is very difficult to ensure new skills, initiatives and ideas introduced to your organisation prosper long term without personal accountability being your foundation.

  3. I am personally going through a difficult time, so the personal accountability and preceeding list is a good foundation to build on.

  4. What drives me nuts is when unexpected problems present themselves, some feel a new process or tool is needed to resolve instead of relying on a proven standard

  5. John,
    Today I sent you an e-mail only because of a “typo”. I thought I was sending it to QBA instead I sent it to QBQ. You are right, I enjoyed your blog. I own a commercial janitorial service in the Dallas Ft. Worth area and this kind of material is always helpful. I appreciate what you are doing. I agree with you 100% on being and teaching accountability. Keep doing what you are doing.

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