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The New York Times bestseller that provides a simple, proven approach to improve accountability and the bottom line.

The economy crashes, the government misfires, businesses fail, leaders don''t lead, managers don''t manage, and people don''t follow through, leaving us asking, "How did that happen?"

Surprises caused by a lack of personal accountability plague almost every organization today, from the political arena to large and small businesses. How Did That Happen? offers a proven way to eliminate these nasty surprises, gain an unbeatable competitive edge, and enhance performance by holding others accountable the positive, principled way.

As the experts on workplace accountability and the authors of The Oz Principle, Roger Connors and Tom Smith tackle the next crucial step everyone can take, whether working as a manager, supervisor, CEO, or individual performer: creating greater accountability in all the people on whom you depend.

Review

"Definitely the ''go-to'' book for teaching organizational accountability that works- without the backlash."
-Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 habits of Highly Effective People

"Packed with practical tools and insights, this is the book that can help you turn accountability from concept into reality."
-Jim Mazzo, president, Abbott Medical Optics

"Connors and Smith have done it again! . . . This book will provide a competitive advantage at a time when ''accountability'' is more important than ever before!"
-David Brandon, chairman and CEO, Domino''s Pizza, Inc.

"This is the right approach for getting results in today''s global environment."
-Gregory J. Newell, former U.S. ambassador and assistant secretary of state

"How Did That Happen? clearly outlines the path to accountability. . . . We will place a copy of this book in the hands of all leaders throughout our organization."
-Michael Lippert, chief operating officer, Arby''s Restaurant Group, Inc.

"Creating greater accountability in a way that captures people''s hearts and minds is harder than it looks. . . . How Did That Happen? delivers specific and practical advice to do just that."
-Ginger Graham, former CEO, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

"Connors and Smith offer an insightful view into the underpinnings of accountability that translate into spectacular and sustainable results."
-Michael Kneidinger, vice president of worldwide operations, Hard Rock CafT International

" How Did That Happen? peels back the onion on achieving sustained accountability."
-Jeff Brundage, senior vice president of human resources, American Airlines

About the Author

Roger Connors and Tom Smith are cofounders of Partners in Leadership, an international management consulting firm with hundreds of clients in almost all major industries. They are also the coauthors of Journey to the Emerald City, a sequel to The Oz Principle.


Tom Smith and Roger Connors are cofounders of Partners in Leadership, an international management consulting firm with hundreds of clients in almost all major industries. They are also the coauthors of Journey to the Emerald City, a sequel to The Oz Principle.

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
193 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

J. S.
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good, but not revolutionary
Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2009
How Did That Happen provides a framework for setting expectations and then holding people accountable. The first half focuses on four stages of goal setting: - FORM goals (Frame them, make them Obtainable, make them easy to Repeat, and make them Measurable) -... See more
How Did That Happen provides a framework for setting expectations and then holding people accountable. The first half focuses on four stages of goal setting:
- FORM goals (Frame them, make them Obtainable, make them easy to Repeat, and make them Measurable)
- Communicate (explain the Why behind the goals to win the hearts and minds, not just the hands and feet)
- Align (getting agreement with stakeholders)
- Inspect (check in by Listening, Observing, measuring Objectively, and therefore Know how things are going)

The second half looks at breakdowns and helps people explore why a commitment has not been met. Four causes include:
- Motivation issues
- Skills
- Corporate culture
- Personal accountability

For new managers or others new to the topic, this would be a an accessible introduction and framework. If you''ve ready any other book on a related topic, such as Crucial Confrontations or even The One Minute Manager among others, or you''ve been exposed to SMART goals, I don''t think you''ll find much that is very knew other than some insightful stories, and acronyms that provide mnemonic keys to help with the process.

There simply is no magic to accountability. Clearly established expectations, realistic plans for action, and then honest assessments with positive and negative consequences are the backbone for any process of accountability.

If you''ve never read a book on the topic before, start with this one. If you have, then you''ll maybe pick up a few tips, but I don''t think this will revolutionize the way you work.
51 people found this helpful
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Hondo
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
How Did They Make It So Complicated?
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2014
For my tastes, this book goes into too many models and layers. There is great content in the book, but I found I had to boil it down and simplify it further to make it something I could remember and use in my leadership work and team work. In my view the book comes across... See more
For my tastes, this book goes into too many models and layers. There is great content in the book, but I found I had to boil it down and simplify it further to make it something I could remember and use in my leadership work and team work. In my view the book comes across like a detailed textbook to accompany a multi-day workshop, and reading it felt like a lot of work. In the end, I got great value from it but think I could have gotten that value more easily if the authors or the editors had taken another pass. I do recommend the book if you are the sort who is able and willing to distill the most valuable essence from the mass of models and principles.
3 people found this helpful
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D. Kanigan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Required for every Manager''s Library...
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2010
The book makes a persuasive case for why accountability is important in the opening chapters. It then proceeds to focus on four stages of managing expectations: (1) Forming expectations: Frame them, make them obtainable, repeatable and measurable; (2)Communicate... See more
The book makes a persuasive case for why accountability is important in the opening chapters. It then proceeds to focus on four stages of managing expectations: (1) Forming expectations: Frame them, make them obtainable, repeatable and measurable; (2)Communicate expectations: Communicating what is expected and why it is important - win their hearts and minds; (3) Align expectations: reach agreements with everyone involved,(4) Inspect expectations: Assess how closely key expectations are being met and provide support. The second half of the book looks at reasons for Accountability fails and they include: 1) Lack of Skills/Training, 2) Poor Motivation, 3) Lack of Personal Accountability and 4) Ineffective Corporate culture. The authors outline a comprehensive model of accountability that will enable you to hold others accountable in a positive way - a model that motivates and produces better and more consistent results.

* This book the best I''ve read on the subject of Accountability.

* I do concur with their statement that "no other attribute of individual or organizational life contributes more to the success of individuals, teams, and organizations." Therefore this book would be a benefit to new managers as they develop their basic skills sets and help move seasoned managers to a Mastery level.

* The opening chapters do a terrific job in suggesting that the "command and control" style is ineffective and that one should re-frame their thinking after failure from "how did that happen" to "how did I let it happen" - the manager taking personal accountability for the failure rather than blaming the employee(s) or other factors

* A seasoned manager might find that there isn''t much revolutionary that is presented here - clearly established and communicated expectations followed by real-time assessments of performance of expectations - with consequences to follow - form the core for any performance management system. However, we don''t often execute in a consistent, scalable and positive manner using a disciplined end-to-end methodology and this is certainly the major draw card here with the suggested model. I did find myself doing mental loops throughout the book to assess whether I''ve properly set, communicated and inspected expectations.

* Authors offer considerable first-hand experience and credibility in the "Accountability Training" space. They have spent 20 years studying and teaching accountability. They share solid research. Authors use insightful examples to support their recommendations.

* The book includes valuable accountability self assessments (How Often I get Surprised; How Well you Form Expectations; Accountability "Style")

* The last 1/3 of the book get a bit long in the tooth (Training, Assessments, Culture) and I found myself wading through these chapters to finish.

* This is a good reference book which is better read in hard copy than on the Kindle - especially to fully leverage the assessment documents.

* My favorite passages in the book that summarize the authors key message are:

"Exactly how do we prevent the surprises that so often blindside us, despite all our best efforts to make things happen the way we expect them to happen? How can we improve our follow-up so that we get the results we want? And how do we do it without making people feel resentful, resistant, manipulated, and controlled?"

"True accountability is not about punishment. It is not about taking revenge against someone who has failed to meet your expectations. So, exactly what is it?...For some, accountability is a way to "act," a behavior you display only when threatened with punishment for poor performance. To others, accountability is an "attitude," a way of looking at your circumstances, good or bad, and taking the view that only you are responsible for what you do next and that blaming anyone else for what happens will simply waste time and energy. To us, accountability, in its truest and most authentic form, is a personal "attribute" that exemplifies who you are. It is "a way of being" that empowers you, each individual on your team and every single person in your organization, to meet and even surpass your highest expectations."
5 people found this helpful
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Peter Coffee
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good book for managers
Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2014
This is a really good book that I recommend to anyone wanting to make some changes in their organization. It is very clearly written with lot of anecdotal stories that help explain the concepts clearly. I read the book once quickly and then for the second time around,... See more
This is a really good book that I recommend to anyone wanting to make some changes in their organization. It is very clearly written with lot of anecdotal stories that help explain the concepts clearly. I read the book once quickly and then for the second time around, skipped the stories and went straight for the meat to make my notes. I bought a few books to share with my colleagues. In all, a well written book with good and practical concepts that anyone can implement.
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Josh and Amber
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent resource!
Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2019
Fantastic read. I have 200 plus employees, and started using these principles immediately. Makes good sense. Bought a copy for my HRBP!!
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Rick I.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Just too wordy and shallow
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2017
Some good concepts, but such a drawn out book for so little valuable information. A very difficult read and not much to take away. The circles concept is just not a model that adds value. Sorry!
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Richard Sonnen
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An unsuccessful attempt at tackling an important topic
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2014
An inadequately edited collection of truisms interspersed with thinly veiled advertisements for the author''s other books, web site, and consultancy. There are few new ideas here, and the dry writing style makes the borrowed ideas inaccessible. It''s ironic that they''ve... See more
An inadequately edited collection of truisms interspersed with thinly veiled advertisements for the author''s other books, web site, and consultancy. There are few new ideas here, and the dry writing style makes the borrowed ideas inaccessible. It''s ironic that they''ve chosen to include a Mark Twain quote about only needing two days to write 30 pages, but needing 30 days to write two. The author has chosen to go the two day route.
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Charlesnurse
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A new project management bible
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2015
This book is a roadmap on how to think about project management. It is organized by the concept map of an outer circle and inner circle that represent flow from start to finish of any change initiative.
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Top reviews from other countries

Vivek Antonio
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must read!
Reviewed in India on April 18, 2020
For those who want to develop their skills of holding people accountable, a must-read. People use this word a lot without really knowing what it means. This book, along with Crucial Accountability, will give you the software upgrade you need to master Accountability...See more
For those who want to develop their skills of holding people accountable, a must-read. People use this word a lot without really knowing what it means. This book, along with Crucial Accountability, will give you the software upgrade you need to master Accountability conversations.
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Vince Hanson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ask Tougher Questions!
Reviewed in Canada on October 24, 2014
The most valuable phrase in the book is "How did I LET that happen?" we were at a senior leadership meeting and when that title phrase on the PowerPoint, I hoped it would be a discussion starter; when it transformed into ''How did I LET that happen?'', the fire...See more
The most valuable phrase in the book is "How did I LET that happen?" we were at a senior leadership meeting and when that title phrase on the PowerPoint, I hoped it would be a discussion starter; when it transformed into ''How did I LET that happen?'', the fire ignited. The real payoff was three hours later when one of the leaders blurted out "I can''t stop thinking about that phrase. We are about to launch ''Product X'' and we''re not as ready as we could be or should and I keep thinking about ''How did I LET that happen..." "Clearly, I could have done more..Clearly I should have done more," When queried about what he could have done, he paused and said "Asked tougher questions"... Another fire ignited and the entire discussion may prove to be a game changer with our organization. While there are an ample array of important points throughout the book, that''s a five star find for us.
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Rakesh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fast delivered
Reviewed in Canada on December 6, 2019
Very good
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Paul Desilets
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on December 5, 2017
Great book! Can’t wait to read the other two.
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LM
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on July 18, 2017
Very relevant and paced well.
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