I just read another one this morning. A CEO who is letting go a huge chunk of their workforce and says that they are “accountable” for the situation having developed and having come to this. This word has been used multiple times by tech company CEOs in the past couple of months. In fact, it almost seems like these guys are reading from the same script! But what does that actually mean? What does accountability or responsibility mean if there are no consequences or repercussions? A CEO saying they’re accountable for the awful need to lay-off 10% of their workforce because of poor decisions and then resigning and joining the job queue with their people… that’s admirable and I think an appropriate response if you really do accept that you’re accountable. A CEO saying they’re accountable but then just basically carrying on normally as if that statement meant something without personal repercussions is a bit weird and frankly indicates they really don’t understand what accountability means at all. Basically says “I’m accountable but you guys pay the tab for my poor judgement”. I know none of these guys are going to give up their jobs because that’s not how the modern world works (it seems) so just stop using the word. To quote one of my favourite movies, “that word you are using, I do not think it means what you think it means…”

With all that in mind, I respect the genuine response by the Zoom CEO… this feels a bit more like real accountability.