Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

Responsibility

with 3 comments

The group I work with had a bad quarter financially and it was my fault. We had lost an important client and failed to bring in enough new business to cover that loss. I am not a director or a manager and it is not in my job description to make the decisions that would directly affect the bottom line, but I still accept a share of the responsibility for the loss. It would be easy to believe that the results were out of my control or to blame it on the current economic conditions. I could even argue that my projects were extremely successful and the work that I did reduced costs while increasing business value. However, the truth is that I am part of a team and when that team does not do well, I do not do well.

As individuals, we have to own our part in the success or failure of the teams we work with. I am proud that the work I did may have helped mitigate the negative numbers but I regret that I could not have done more to help others achieve the results we needed.

I asked my manager about what we did or did not do to cause us to lose that client. He didn’t know. How could he not know? How could something that was so significant not be communicated clearly and to everyone?

So I am taking responsibility for something executives at the company did not care to share with me. There was no lack of communication when we were all told that bonuses and raises were going to be reduced due to this unknown failing of ours.

I will not accept this lack of communication. I will not grumble, complain and blame the higher-ups for the lack of fairness. I will keep asking until I get an answer. When I do get that answer, I will ask another question: “What could I have done differently that would have helped prevent the loss of the client?”.

I believe we were not told because the executives believed it was their own fault and not that of the employees. I believe it is shame and not malice that makes them reluctant to share the information. They have a responsibility to make the right decisions but they should not take all the blame any more than they should take all the credit for the results we produce.

I decide how much I will contribute to the success of the business. I decide if I’m going to do just what is assigned to me and I decide if I’m going to go beyond what is expected. If I am treated unfairly and my pay does not reflect my contribution, it is my decision to accept it or to look elsewhere for work. The only thing my employer really has control over is whether or not to keep me on the payroll during a layoff. I do whatever I can to make keeping me on the right choice.

I blame not just myself but everyone in my group. I blame those who do only what they are told and don’t ask questions. I blame the employee who follows a process just because it has always been done that way. I blame the project manager who is only concerned with meeting his project’s deadlines. I blame the person who leaves early because their work is done while their peers are overwhelmed with work. I also forgive them because I have done the same in the past.

There is no doubt in my mind that we will come back from this setback. It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. A successful business is not one set of quarterly results or the loss of one client. A successful business is the cumulative success of the individuals working in it.

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Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

January 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm

3 Responses

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  1. This is certainly an aspect of man’s nature that causes distress… Not being able to ‘own up’ to our faults/mistakes can be a hardship, not only to ourselves, but also to others….

    I ‘feel’ for you; I’ve experienced this myself. However, Tim, I have always been of the philosophy that prescribes to the condition of ‘pay back’. Sometimes it takes a long time to come to fruition however, the universe (call it what you may) causes the downfall of those attitudes. It not only flattens the doer in the process but it ‘lifts on high’ those who have, in some way, been distressed. Not just an optimistic attitude on my part; but something that I’ve experienced for myself (and in the lives of others) over and over again.

    Today, whenever such a situation occurs, I comfort myself that the ‘wrong doer’ will ‘eventually’ fall… We just have to be patient enough to allow the time needed for this to happen; plus the fortitude to continue being true to ourselves whilst waiting…. and

    Thanks for putting the ’email’ follow in the sidebar…. I clicked on it and am now receiving your posts….. 😉

    carolynpageabc

    January 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  2. […] Life Can/Do –  Tim, I love the name of this blog! Shares poignant life lessons and reactions to life that I find insightful and artfully complex for a clearly left brained IT human. Loved last week’s post on Responsibility gosh we all should be so bold as to put it in writing! […]

    • Thanks Hilary.

      I may need a lesson on WordPress because I keep needing to approve your comments. I don’t need to for others I’ve previously approve.

      Tim Thinkauthor

      February 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm


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