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Create a Culture of Accountability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 26, 2008

When developing an emerging-technology company—or any startup for that matter—the right leadership is critical. One of the biggest challenges is that early-stage companies are often dominated by a founder, a single individual who in some cases can provide great inspiration, but can also unfortunately create a sort of dictatorship and stifle growth. A company can’t scale when every decision has to go through one person. That’s why it’s important to build a culture of accountability and responsibility.

To do that, you must strive to foster in people the confidence to trust their own judgment, make decisions, think things through, and have conviction in their own skills and ideas. This applies not only to senior executives but to every single employee. Find the right people to surround you with and give them the ability to be successful. My management philosophy is to hold yourself accountable for your actions and give people the freedom to perform.

Jim Hemmer
CEO and President
Antenna Software
Jersey City, N.J.

Reader Comments

Liz H

August 27, 2008 12:54 PM

Agree with the above message. When people are held accountable for their actions, the blame game comes to a cease. This is why in my home no one can say "Its not my fault." This way once they are adults, they are used to examining their actions, and owning up to them! Great article.


August 31, 2008 3:40 AM

I worked in a startup in the micropayment business a few years back. After coming on-board, I discovered that the CEO had been in a constant fight with the two founders and their alliance members. The VC's funding the company let the founder's run wild with no accountability. This company had been in business for over two years at that time and yet had monthly revenues of under 3k! The CEO had tried to change operations to increase revenue which created friction with the original founder's and team. But the CEO lost the battle and was fired one month after I started. Subsequently, everyone the CEO had hired was let go. The company struggled for another two years, never able to gain traction and finally closing the doors in January 2007. They lost nearly $25 million in investor money. The VC's should have demanded accountability and got rid of the founder's and their team early on.

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