Accountability with Ray Kowalik

“An enterprise leader one Monday morning, asked me if I was calling him about his low numbers from last week,” shared Ray Kowalik, CEO of Burns & McDonnell. Kowalik was the speaker at the virtual Good Leadership Breakfast this past Friday – the subject was How accountability increases with the feeling of ownership.

Kowalik continued to explain how many of the leaders he hires from outside of the employee-owned Burns & McDonnell culture, have a very different perspective on what “accountability” means. In many organizations, senior leaders only hear from the people at the top when they are missing their numbers. Sometimes that call comes once a quarter. Often we hear stories of those calls once a month and even once a week. “That’s not how we think about accountability around Burns & McDonnell,” Ray explained. “We take a longer view, allowing leaders to invest in people and projects that will pay off in the future – in ways where all of the employee-owners of our firm will benefit.”

Virtual leadership lessons

The new, virtual broadcast format of the Good Leadership Breakfast allows us to dig deeper into important subjects related to good leadership, and how goodness pays. This past Friday, leaders from all corners of the United States participated to hear the success habits around accountability. Here’s a sampling:

  • When people feel and have ownership in the outcome, they welcome accountability
  • Programs where people benefit from the organization’s profitability, increase accountability
  • A-players don’t want to be held accountable – rather, they seek accountability when they are building something they really love


To view the full interview with Ray, you can watch the breakfast, and dive into the audience questions with the Goodness Pays Leadership Podcast. Next month, our speaker is Megan Remark. Register Today.

Paul Batz

Paul Batz is CEO and Founder of Good Leadership Enterprises. He is an inspirational leadership coach, best selling author and professional speaker. His Good Leadership blog is recognized as one of the top leadership posts in America today.