Business Profile: Ruhmann Associates, Where Accountability and Leadership Matters

By Stephanie G. Hlavin for Business Leader magazine, January 2007 

If you’ve ever found yourself at work, quietly fuming to yourself, asking, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ then you might be falling victim to well, victim thinking. What about laments such as, ‘When will they train me?’ or, ‘When will that department ever get its’ job right?’ Questions like these are key stumbling blocks when it comes to achieving personal accountability. This poor-me thinking, blame-game playing and procrastination, is quite common in the workplace and unfortunately, counter productive to customer-driven organizations. The good news, however, is that for most, this way of thinking is changeable. Rich Ruhmann feels the real root of unhappiness in today’s work place is the lack of personal accountability. They then focus on building better leaders through personal effectiveness training. As a management consulting firm dedicated to developing the leadership potential of individuals and organization, Ruhmann Associates is striving to improve the workforce and leaders, by focusing on the individual.

Accountability Matters

So how do you get from whining and blaming to, ‘How can I do my job better today?’ or, ‘What can I do to improve this situation?’ By changing the way you ask the questions! In the QBQ! workshop, we  show people how to be personally accountable with the resources they currently have and avoid the procrastination trap through a powerful and effective workshop called QBQ! Achieving Excellence by Practicing Personal Accountability. During the workshop, they depart from the overstated and what some might say, overrated rationale that creativity requires outside-the-box-thinking. “For many industries, particularly in healthcare and manufacturing, you don’t need to think outside the box. When you succeed within the box, you are being personally accountable. That’s a good thing—when personal goals link to the organization’s initiatives and goals.” In the one-day workshop, QBQ! Achieving Excellence by Practicing Personal Accountability, we show participants how they can make better choices by asking the question behind the question, or, making better choices in the moment by changing the way you think. It’s a powerful experience! For some attendees, the workshop has proven life changing. “One gentleman, in front of his employer, said that he had planned on resigning that week, but because of the workshop, realized that his unhappiness was not about his job—it was about himself.” After all, it takes only one person to eliminate blame and become personally accountable. When you do, the results are impressive: improved productivity, greater teamwork, reduced stress, healthier relationships and better customer service.

Leadership Matters

Ruhmann Associates takes the lessons learned from the accountability workshops and expands on them to help management-level attendees choose and develop leadership. “Just as accountability is a choice, so is greatness”, says Rich Ruhmann, founder. “We believe no one is a born leader. Some of us are born with characteristics that make it easier to be a leader, but anyone can choose to be a leader. It just takes effort.” In the case of leadership development, the work often involves undoing behavior patterns developed over time. Counter-productive behaviors most often seen in the high-level executives he coaches include a pattern of distracting behavior ranging from aggressiveness to shutting down completely. The key to overcoming the stumbling blocks that can sideline executive effectiveness? “Stop the negative self-talk and chatter”, says Ruhmann. The higher one goes in an organization, the more often their internal negative dialogue dominates decision-making. We encourage a positive conversation and to “turn the volume down” on the negative dialogue. Instead of thinking, ‘this will never turn out right,’ he suggests executives instead say, ‘I am capable of solving this situation; this has always been a success for me.’ The only things that happen naturally are friction, confusion and under performance. While it might sound like a tidy management sound byte, it’s actually a take on management guru Peter Drucker’s philosophy of effectiveness and one that Ruhmann Associates subscribes to wholeheartedly. “You are the only thing available to change in an organization,” says Rich. “The better you understand yourself, the better you can lead others.” Awareness being the key to change in so many things in life, our leadership development courses have also brought about dramatic changes. He shares how a high-level executive attended a one-on-one leadership course as a last resort before his termination. A dominant, authoritative and aggressive leader, the executive got the job done. But when placed under stress he became demanding, demeaning and downright inappropriate. Following the session, not only did he keep his job, but, says Rich, “A shift took place and the gentleman is now more aware. Now, when situations become stressful, he no longer takes control. He manages the situation and asks for ideas rather than demanding action.”

Leadership Matters

With client testimonials like the following, it shouldn’t be hard for organizations and leaders to realize the benefits to gain from matters of accountability and leadership, because as Ruhmann Associates insist, it matters. “Rich Ruhmann and Sharon Hickman do a masterful job of guiding even the brightest and most skeptical leaders through a process where they come face to face with the ways in which they sabotage their own efforts and draws on their unique strengths to improve their effectiveness. Significantly improved partnerships across disciplines, more authentic relationships with subordinates, clearer communication, and more deliberate team decision-making are some of the visible successes of Rich and Sharon's work across the Yale New Haven Health System,” says Michael E. Pepe, Ph.D., vice president and executive director, Institute for Excellence, Yale New Haven Health System. 

For more information about Ruhmann Associates, visit: [url=][/url] or call (919) 510-0055.