Book Club - Bernard Page



The Marketing Bookclub, June 2017 – By Bernard Page

Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture’ by Greg Bustin


Why have you chosen Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture?

I had the pleasure of meeting Greg Bustin at a recent Vistage event; an affable American who has successfully worked with the leadership teams of a good number of Fortune 500 companies. I even managed to win a copy of Accountability during the session, whose salient points I have found of value, and which I’m beginning to apply in my work.

The first question Bustin poses is around how you should view accountability; as a punishment or a genuine affection?

In response, Bustin’s core argument is that accountability is a support system for ‘winners’ in business – those team members who want to show themselves dependable and surefooted. In doing so, he explores the nature of accountability, deconstructs it and then gives his appraisal of what the term should mean for managers.

For Bustin, the first step towards true accountability is clarity of purpose. Clarity creates confidence in a team, while confusion causes chaos.  Leaders should express clarity of purpose and be able to relay their message clearly to their team.

Second: tracking, which Bustin believes does the heavy lifting of accountability. Winning team members want to see progress, so tracking and measurement of their performance acts as a scoreboard. Losers, on the other hand, will shy away from being monitored. Throughout, Bustin cites real-life examples to demonstrate his points.

Bustin also makes a valuable argument about the value of leading with questions. Conversations about under-performance should act as coaching sessions to help colleagues improve, and help managers define whether they’re willing to spend more time invested in the colleague in question. Failure to address under-performance is a double standard that is disrespectful to top performers, and ultimately tarnishes the reputation of the leader.

The author leaves us with a striking conclusion: that in business, we tolerate what we sanction. Accountability is a form of affection aimed at winners in the organisation, and leadership is not about doing what is popular but doing what is right. In turn, the book ends with a call to arms for leaders: to see it, say it, then solve it.

What will business owners gain from the book?

A new perspective on using accountability as a tool for achieving clarity of purpose and commitment to action by teams.

If readers enjoy this book, which other book would you recommend?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change’, by Stephen Covey


Part-time Marketing Director at The Marketing Centre, Bernard benefits from a wealth of senior retail, e-commerce, financial, B2B and charity marketing experience. Working for a range of Blue Chip and Fortune 500 organisations including GUS Home Shopping, GE Capital, Express Gifts and Shop Direct Group, Bernard is passionate about establishing brand purpose, aligning leadership and creating lasting change for businesses. Bernard has an MBA from Manchester Metropolitan University and Professional CIM diploma, alongside training in coaching and facilitation methodologies. He is part of our North West team.