Accountability in a Compassionate Enterprise (Case Study)

Case / Produced by partner of TOW
Orthodontist 287285 620

Dr. Gonzales was a highly skilled dentist who came across to his patients as unusually caring and compassionate. He took extra time so clients were reassured and understood the procedures they were walking through. He occasionally provided services without charge for those who couldn’t afford them, and followed up to make sure his patients were making good progress.

However there was a problem with some members of his staff. They took advantage of their boss’s tender nature, cutting corners in ways that would never be permitted in a demanding, no-nonsense workplace. They didn’t feel accountable.

Dr. Gonzales needed to make some changes, or eventually his patients and reputation would suffer. He had to command the highest level of respect and professional diligence from his co-workers, without losing his gentle and caring nature. But just how to do this was another matter. He simply wasn’t sure.


  • How might Dr. Gonzales institute greater accountability in his practice?
  • Should he be willing to terminate and replace staff to achieve this goal?
  • What kinds of measures should he establish to assure sustained compliance?


  • Let not mercy and truth forsake you (Proverbs 3:3).
  • Jesus said to those ready to stone the woman caught in adultery: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” When all her accusers left, He said to her with compassion, “Neither do I condemn you.” Then to hold her accountable He added, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).
  • “Compassion without accountability produces sentimentalism. Accountability without compassion is harsh and heartless. Compassion teamed up with accountability is a powerful force.” They must be in balance. Loving Monday, p. 110. (Find e-book at


Compassion and accountability are parallel truths. They are like twin rails on which trains run. Both are necessary. The wise business leader makes sure both are fully functioning, never one to the exclusion of the other.

By John Beckett. Copyright 2014.