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Summary:

Accountability can and should be a positive experience! This book shows you how. Accountability is within your control – with positive psychology and the right actions.

5 Actions of Positive Accountability will help transform you and your culture by showing you proven, positive, behavioral-science- based techniques to set fair expectations, minimize unsatisfactory performance, and deal constructively with consequences. You will learn how to be a highly effective leader or individual contributor, while achieving peak results through positive accountability.

Based on their research and study as organizational scientists, and their experience as organizational consultants, the authors have identified the five essential steps in a positive accountability process: the 5 Actions of Positive Accountability.

Featuring interviews with leaders in various industries and the world of sports, including among others, Dabo Swinney, Head Coach Clemson University Football, Bob McKillop, Head Coach of Davidson College Men’s Basketball and NBA all-star Steph Curry’s college basketball coach, Angelic Gibson, CIO at AvidXchange, and Brona Magee, Deputy CEO of SCOR Global Life, this book combines wisdom with practical dos and don’ts for holding yourself and others accountable.

A timely book! Low accountability is pervasive in organizations of all sizes and industries. In 5 Actions of Positive Accountability, Ashlin and Kello tackle the challenge of accountability with an easy-to-follow model that integrates positive psychology with culture. – Dr. Steven Rogelberg, author of the best-selling book The Surprising Science of Meetings

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Summary:

The key to being a great leader isn’t luck or being gifted, highly educated, or unusually driven. The key to being a great leader is behavior. Great leaders behave in great ways. In Leading: The Way—Behaviors That Drive Success, author Paulette Ashlin teaches you how to adapt your behavior to appropriate situations, which will inspire people to listen to you, to believe in you, and to follow your lead.

A worldwide leadership and business coach, Ashlin shares behavior-based strategies to transform your leadership style and attain professional success. Leading: The Way discusses how knowing your strengths and weaknesses is not enough; you need to understand how to behave your way into your aspired roles. It highlights the general principles of effective leadership that revolve around the core concepts of selfawareness, self-control, humility, integrity, empathy, global intelligence, personal stewardship, and performance.

Using personal anecdotes drawn from her coaching experiences, Ashlin offers guidance on how to become a leader and remain a leader. She emphasizes the importance of responding to, changing, and improving your behavior to become the best you can be

Research based yet highly practical, Leading: The Way shows you how to transform your leadership style; communicate effectively up, down, and across; boost employee engagement; and exemplify vision and purpose. Get the complete picture of what’s working, what’s not working, and what you can do to improve from Paulette Ashlin’s straightforward, behavior-based strategies! A terrific resource! – Marshall Goldsmith, world-renowned executive coach and New York Times best-selling author of Triggers, MOJO, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

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Book Reviews

Informed by scientific research, the business guide 5 Actions of Positive Accountability suggests means of creating a positive work culture. Paulette Ashlin and John Kello’s business book 5 Actions of Positive Accountability speaks to leaders and employees alike, recommending both affirmative accountability and positivity.Distilled from years of behavioral scientific research and consulting, this book on positive accountability encourages leaders and workers to be clear in communicating their expectations. It also champions positive reinforcement and honest appraisals. Its five-step process is introduced via a mnemonic device for easy recall; its steps are anticipate, assist, appraise, advise, and affect. Following this process, the book suggests, will help organizations to maximize their performances and productivity. Indeed, it’s an empowering approach that eschews negative reinforcements. The thematic chapters muse through topics like the challenge of accountability, individual accountability, team accountability, positive psychology, and humanistic psychology. The book flows well from section to section, though. Direct, declarative sentences help the book to be both concise and actionable, communicating its lessons in an effectively pithy manner. For instance, it makes the case that optimism is more energizing than pessimism with a quote from a sales executive: “no one buys gloom.” Further, the book reinforces its messages through repetition, recapitulation, and other didactic techniques. And it tackles most topics from multiple angles, as when it makes a case for positive reinforcement by noting that it increases desired behaviors and outcomes, while also detailing why negative reinforcement is flawed (it does not guide those targeted toward the preferred behavior, but merely invokes fear that can disrupt other employee behaviors and hamper job performances). The book’s claims are bolstered by its academic references, as to Ivan Pavlov’s experiments on dogs and B. F. Skinner’s training of rats to pull levers for food. These are used to indicate the established power of anticipated rewards. A brief final note reiterates the book’s mission of equipping leaders with the tools and strategies of positive accountability, encouraging managers to practice them until they become ingrained habits; and a late chapter summarizes the main takeaways of all the previous chapters in bullet point form, distilling the book’s message to its essence. An encouragement to always keep learning, growing, and improving ends the work. Additionally, insightful interviews with leaders outside of the business realm, including collegiate football and basketball coaches who apply these methods themselves, are transcribed in full in the book’s appendix, resulting in an added level of edification. Informed by scientific research, the business guide 5 Actions of Positive Accountability suggests means of creating a positive work culture in order to yield quantifiable results.

—Reviewed by Joseph Pete
July 5, 2022

Clarion Books

Accountability can be pleasant and is actually kind! This is a great book for leaders and those who aspire to leadership. Ashlin and Kello apply proven positive, behavioral, and science-based techniques to motivate, inspire, and reward individuals and teams. You will learn about highly effective leadership and creating and sustaining a culture of positive accountability.

—Scott Rossmille, MD
Executive Vice President, Chief Physician Executive, Atrium Health

Nailed it! This book on positive accountability is clear, concise, and research-based. The Five Action Areas of Accountability model will help individuals and teams remain focused and exceed their goals while maintaining strong relationships.

—Theresa Payton
Former White House CIO, CEO and Chief Advisor of Fortalice Solutions, and best-selling author of books on Cyber Security

Accountability is at the heart of any kind of individual or organizational change. Ashlin and Kello’s positive approach to this critical issue provides actionable steps to achieving goals. Leaders who implement these ideas will enable meaningful change.

—Eden King, Ph.D., Lynette S. Autrey
Professor of Psychology at Rice University, and past President of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

This book should be required reading for leaders. The push to view accountability from a positive perspective and not just a code word for discipline and negative feedback, will be a very powerful mindset shift for many. More importantly, Ashlin and Kello provide clear examples of what accountability as an integral part of a positive, high performance culture looks like. This is both a roadmap and toolkit for implementing a better approach. Plus, with the major shifts happening in terms of where and how work is done, this book is so timely!

—Mike Guggenheimer
President & CEO, Blumenthal Holdings, LLC

Positive accountability is a powerful and welcome paradigm shift for many. This book is a must-read for individuals and organizations who aspire to become high-performing. The Five Action Areas of Accountability provides a step-by-step outline on how to hold others accountable in the most collaborative and effective way!

—Arshad Mansoor
President and CEO, EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute)

A timely book! Low accountability is pervasive in organizations of all sizes and industries. In The Five Action Areas of Accountability, Ashlin and Kello tackle the challenge of accountability with an easy-to-follow model that integrates positive psychology with culture. As behavioral scientists and pragmatic management consultants, the authors combine their research with their experience to provide us an innovative and effective way to hold others (and self!) accountable.

—Dr. Steven Rogelberg
author of the best-selling book, The Surprising Science of Meetings, Chancellor’s Professor at UNC-Charlotte, Director of the university’s Organizational Science Doctoral Program, and President-Elect of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Finally. A book that debunks the negative connotations of accountability! Holding people accountable can be a positive experience and this book shows you how. In The Five Action Areas of Accountability, Ashlin and Kello demonstrate the profound power of positive psychology.

—Min Lee
President, ALR Architecture

In The Five Action Areas of Accountability, authors Paulette Ashlin and Dr. John Kello skillfully integrate psychological research, direct lessons from their own consulting experiences, and insights from accomplished business and sports leaders to illuminate the often-misunderstood topic of accountability and offer a playbook for building a positive and high-performing culture.

—Tim Frizzell
Vice President, Human Resources – Southeast Division, Vulcan Materials Company

Paulette and John tackle a nebulous concept and do it beautifully. They provide excellent examples from their own consulting practices and from the stories they’ve gathered in their research. Their ideas apply to our business lives and our home lives as well!

—Dr. Beverly Kaye
Author, Speaker, Thought Leader
Bev Kaye & Company

Ashlin and Kello have amalgamated the critical need for collaboration, partnership and accountability in a practical set of Five Action Areas of Accountability that will invariably lead to success. Accountability as they portray it is a shared one between leaders and supervisees – A real recipe for success!

—Elias I. Traboulsi, MD, MEd
Director of Graduate Medical Education, Cleveland Clinic

Ashlin and Kello skillfully integrate research, anecdotes, experience, and interviews into a helpful and innovative approach to accountability. I especially appreciate the wisdom gleamed from stellar leaders in various fields, including sports. Everyone should learn how to apply the The Five Action Areas of Accountability to generate positive outcomes.

—Jay Courie
Managing Member/Leading Member, MGC Law, MGC Sports

Practicing accountability can be difficult for even the best leaders and professionals. The Five Action Areas of Accountability show you how to integrate positive behavior into every step of accountability. Ashlin and Kello present an easy-to-follow model that generates great results while maintaining excellent relationships.

—Chris Peek
President and Chief Operating Officer, CaroMont Health

Research based yet highly practical, Leading: The Way shows you how to transform your leadership style; communicate effectively up, down, and across; boost employee engagement; and exemplify vision and purpose. Get the complete picture of what’s working, what’s not working, and what you can do to improve from Paulette Ashlin’s straightforward, behavior-based strategies! A terrific resource!

—Marshall Goldsmith
world-renowned executive coach and New York Times best-selling author of Triggers, MOJO, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Paulette Ashlin has leveraged her unique cultural upbringing and extensive business experience to write an outstanding book on leadership. She has woven decades of rigorous analysis with personal-best leadership stories to create a thorough yet easy-to-follow source for leadership development. Leading: The Way is a must-read whether you are an experienced executive looking to enhance your leadership skills or are a new manager embarking on your first significant leadership challenge.

—Geoffrey A. Peters
President and CEO of Wikoff Color Corporation

If you are a leader who wants to change, is able to change, and understands that changing behavior is a process, as stated by Paulette Ashlin, then her new book Leading: The Way is a must read. Paulette’s fresh take on leading is inspirational and something to be enjoyed by all.

—Kristin Malbasa
Vice President of Human Resources, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions

Leading: The Way is the most clear, practical, and actionable business book I’ve ever read. Ms. Ashlin serves up the critical concepts of leadership in simple, bite-sized portions and brings each into razor-sharp focus using real world examples – people and personalities we’ve all encountered in the workplace. Superb! Essential reading for anyone in business.

—Preston Fay
Founder, Technekes

In Leading: The Way Paulette Ashlin effectively applies her experience from the board room to the manufacturing floor to give insight into the dynamics of how the real workplace functions. This guidance for improving business leaders is both inspired and practical coaching that’s certain to improve skills in any business environment.

—John M. Schultz
General Manager, Carmel Country Club

Leading: The Way is a must-read for anyone aspiring to, or already in, a leadership position in the modern corporate world. Leading: The Way’s behavioral approach through self-assessment, empathy, vision, and followership in the context of global awareness has transformed my leadership abilities and will most certainly enhance yours.

—David A. Iannitti, MD, FACS
chief of Hepatic Pancreatic Biliary Surgery, program director of HPB Surgery Fellowship, and professor of surgery at Carolinas HealthCare System

Leading: The Way reflects Paulette Ashlin’s coaching style. It is a pragmatic, strategic, and realistic method to leadership success. The behavioral approach fills a gap in leadership development and builds upon competency and strengths models

—Cathy Burns
President, Produce Marketing Association

Leadership retreats are a common practice for companies to invest in the growth of their leaders. Reading this book made me feel I went offsite to learn. The breadth of topics and depth of the insight was absorbing and transformative.

—Dr. Izzy Justice
Chief Talent Officer, Premier Inc, Author, Epowerment, Triathlete EQ

If you are a leader who wants to change, is able to change, and understands that changing behavior is a process, as stated by Paulette Ashlin, then her new book Leading: The Way is a must read. Paulette’s fresh take on leading is inspirational and something to be enjoyed by all.

—Kristin Malbasa
Vice President of Human Resources, MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions

This book is a deeply personal account of Paulette Ashlin’s views on leadership, illustrated with relevant stories drawn from her successful coaching practice. Bottom line, it is a very accessible, behavioral approach to the challenging issues of effective leadership.

—John E. Kello, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Davidson College

Paulette Ashlin has used her vast experience and knowledge to build a new road for leaders to travel if they are serious about making themselves and the organizations they serve achieve greater success. This book should be read by all who lead or aspire to.

—Harry L. Jones, Sr.
County Manager (Retired), Mecklenburg County (NC)

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