The good news, fortunately, is that you can guarantee your business success.
That’s right, it’s all up to you. Which is cool, because it means you can’t fail unless you make the choice to.
One of the biggest keys to building a profitable business is taking responsibility. Not just usually, or when it’s deserved, or when things go right. But always. This isn’t something that people think about a lot. But taking 100% responsibility, 100% of the time, is perhaps the best way to guarantee your business success.
Here’s a Bad Example of Taking Responsibility
The leader of a group I’m part of had organized a business happy hour for the group. It was scheduled for a restaurant that has two locations in the city. Yesterday I got an email from him that said, “My secretary messed up. The happy hour is really scheduled for location B, not location A.”
Classic failure to take responsibility. As the leader, it’s his responsibility to get us the right information. Several scenarios may be going through your head right now that are making you say, “but what if it really was her fault?” What if he did everything right and she was distracted by the phone, or forgot, or wrote it down wrong, or a thousand other things?
It doesn’t matter. It’s still his responsibility. And it would have been so easy for him to take the appropriate responsibility. There was zero need to say “my secretary messed up.” Zero. Wouldn’t “sorry for the confusion, the happy hour is actually at . . .” have done the job? Then there’s no needless blaming. And he’s taking the responsibility for getting the correct information out.
This is a pretty easy example. There are really no dire or long term consequences for the mistake.
But what I have found is that how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Here’s How You Take Responsibility
We have a 35 minute drive to school in the morning. Getting 3 young kids in the car and there on time is a daily challenge. I use to find myself saying “you’re going to make us late.” And always thinking that we were late because of some action, or inaction, by a child.
The reality is, I’m responsible for getting them there on time. So whatever tweak in the schedule or routine that needs to be made is my responsibility. It’s on me.
Around the same time I came to terms with this, I had a similar realization as to my business success, or lack thereof. I would notoriously have trouble meeting deadlines because of a computer problem, or childcare problem, or unscheduled issue with another client, or whatever.
Again, the reality was that I was responsible for organizing my universe so that I could get the project completed on time. And if I had made a realistic map of what the project required, and started working on it earlier, all of these easy-to-blame interferences wouldn’t have been there.
Take a look at your life and your business. If you are blaming anyone but yourself when things go wrong in one situation, I guarantee you’re doing it all the time.
What Difference Will it Make if You Take Responsibility?
What will taking responsibility for everything in your life do for you, other than make you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?
This is where you might surprise yourself. Because taking responsibility actually frees you.
Think about it. If you have responsibility to get a project done, then you have complete control over it. No one can stop it from happening. Just like no one can stop me from getting my kids to school on time if I take responsibility for it. Yes, there has been that occasional massive accident that makes it impossible, but I’m talking about in the normal course of your world.
If you think, “I can’t get this done because of outside influence A, B and C,” you are left completely powerless. Failure is an option.
But if you think, “I can’t get this done unless I get A, B, and C right,” you have 100% control over the outcome. And I know failure is not an option for you.
Now it may take you a minute to get it all right. But if your project was late because the graphics guy didn’t get you his stuff on time, it’s not his fault. You either hired the wrong person or didn’t make your expectations clear enough. But you can get that right next time. You have the power.
Take some time this week to think about how taking 100% responsibility could make a difference in your business success. Do you think there’s a situation in which you can’t take responsibility? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what we can do to change that.
Next week, I’ll show you how taking responsibility can help you win friends and make money in your business.