Get ready, this is a bit of a rant.
Nothing happened to set me off. There was no “precipitating event” this morning. This is just a frustration of mine that has been building for some time. Ready? Here goes…
Why do we blame other people when we don't do everything we can do to fix or change a bad situation?
Parents blame teachers and teachers blame parents for poor test scores. Managers blame employees and employees blame managers for poor business results. Parents blame teenagers and teenagers blame parents for misunderstandings.
I completely support the idea of holding people accountable for their words, actions, and responsibilities. I believe that people are responsible for both their actions and their failures to act.
I also believe that you cannot hold someone else accountable if you have not, first, done everything in your power to fix the situation.
Doing my part has nothing to do with you doing your part. It's my responsibility to do everything in my power to make things better whether you choose to cooperate with me or not.
The moment that I make my contribution to making things better contingent on you doing your part, I abdicate my responsibility.
Yes, I understand that people get frustrated and give up when other people don't eventually cooperate. I get that.
I'm not suggesting that we should keep pursuing relationships that have no hope of reciprocal effort or that we continue to work in environments that are toxic or dangerous (either emotionally or physically) beyond our ability to change them.
I am suggesting that we make sure we have done whatever we can do before we even begin to think about pointing our fingers at other people.
Here's my personal responsibility pledge:
From this day forward, I pledge to always give my best and fullest effort to a business, organization, cause or relationship that I am involved in before I start blaming other people for its failure.
Will you join me today in taking the personal responsibility pledge?