Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
On August 25th, an article appeared in the National Post concerning Major-General Mike Rouleau, Canada’s top special forces soldier. According to the article, Rouleau will face a court martial for a “negligent discharge” from his firearm last year as he prepared to visit the front lines in northern Iraq.
I was struck both by the seniority of this leader and the fact that he was being held to account. In particular, his comments concerning the principle of accountability caught my attention.
“‘I made a mistake, I reported the mistake and I own my mistake 100 per cent. Accountability is the bedrock of our discipline as a military special forces organization. As the commanding general, I am every bit as accountable as the youngest private in the force,’ he added. He also noted he would accept full responsibility at the court martial. ‘Accountability underpins our actions as soldiers and especially as leaders,’ he said.”
As marketplace leaders, we understand that accountability is integral to organizational effectiveness. Without it, any organization ultimately flounders. For example, as a former CEO, I was accountable to a board of directors, which itself was accountable to shareholders and other stakeholders for the conduct of the corporation. Reflecting this reality, individual board members assume potential liability when they agree to serve on a board.
Accountability is integral to professional and personal success.
Given there is a deep understanding of the accountability principle within the marketplace culture, why not more concern about ultimate accountability? Based upon the Bible, when we die, every single one of us will be held accountable by God the Creator for our conduct. While some assume there is no God, survey after survey reveals that most individuals, even in the highly secularised West, believe that God exists. The logical extension of this belief is accountability to God. Most, however, have not given much thought to this reality or its implications.
Based upon my experience before becoming a follower of Jesus, life for many marketplace leaders, while not perfect, is sufficiently comfortable that they feel no need to examine the larger questions of life. Their lives are usually very busy with activity, responsibility, achievement, recognition and accumulation of wealth and other stuff.
Busyness will not be an excuse, however, at the ultimate accountability session. God knows everything about our lives – the good, the bad and the ugly. Even were we not as transparent as Major-General Rouleau, nothing will be hidden from His gaze.
The good news is that God loves us so much that he sent His son, Jesus, to stand in the place of accountability on our behalf. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus bore the due punishment for our misconduct. Love was served and justice satisfied. God’s solution to ultimate accountability is captured succinctly in one of the best known passages of the Bible.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.