We sat around the table discussing the new team member scheduled to show up for work the next morning.
“Who’s she going to report to?” came the question from Raphael.
“What do you mean report to?” I asked.
“Well, the new person has to report to someone,” Raphael replied.
“When, you say report, you mean report for duty? If that is the case, she can report to reception and reception can properly note the new team member has reported (for duty).”
“No, I mean the new person has to have a manager to report to,” Raphael pushed back.
“So, you think you are a manager so people can report to you?” I pressed.
“I suppose so, that’s what managers do, have people report to them.”
“Let me ask a question. Who around this table will be accountable for the output of this new team member?”
“Accountable, what’s accountability got to do with it?” Raphael looked slightly annoyed.
“If a ship runs aground at night, because the night watchman falls asleep, who do we fire?” I asked.
Raphael had to stop, briefly, “Well, we fire the captain.”
“Oh, really,” I smiled. “Why?”
“Why? The captain is accountable for whatever happens on the ship,” Raphael knew the answer, but did not like the direction of the conversation.
“So, if the manager is accountable for the output of the team, the question is not who this new team member will report to, but which manager around this table will be accountable for this new team member’s output.”