Kick Your But's
William Frank Diedrich
Most intelligent people are willing to say: "I am responsible.
I am accountable." To say and mean this is the first step.
The second step is to add the word "completely". "I am completely
responsible". This is difficult for most. When something goes
wrong we tend to say: "I am responsible but..." Our "but's"
get in the way of assuming complete responsibility. Complete
responsibility increases your ability to accomplish goals.
Complete responsibility is power. In order to assume complete
responsibility we have to kick our "but's".
We express good intentions and then negate them with "but".
Examples are: "I want to work well with that employee, but
he 's a jerk." "I want to start my business, but my spouse
won't support it." "I want to help these people, but they
are unreasonable." "I'd like to be more honest, but she won't
listen." "I'd like to do a high quality job, but management
keeps getting in my way." "I'd get this done on time, but
I have too much work to do."
"But" is the great negator. Whatever words you say in the
first part of the sentence are erased by the word "but". When
someone says: "I really want to make this work, but these
people won't cooperate." --"but" negates "really wanting to
make this work." "Those people won't cooperate" is the main
message. You may as well say it's over and it's not going
to happen. You have convinced yourself that the reason it
isn't happening is them. You are abdicating responsibility
to them by inferring that they should change.
When we externalize reasons for something not working, we
deceive ourselves. Our deception is that it's all them. What
impact do I have on this situation? How do I come across to
"them"? Have I considered their needs, concerns, and desires?
How might I see them and this situation differently? When
I blame others I am resistant to their reality. What I resist
will persist. Often the best way to keep something going is
to be against it.
In my example, I will become completely responsible when I
kick my "but". I change "but" to "and" and "won't cooperate"
to "aren't buying into my plan at this moment".
"I really want to make this work, and those people aren't
buying into my plan at this moment." Instead of condemning
them for not agreeing with me, I can be listening to their
concerns and reasons. I can become willing to hear another
perspective, and to address their concerns. I can become willing
to make adjustments based on new data I may not have been
aware of previously. Taking into consideration their needs
and concerns, I can present my plan, my adjusted plan, or
a new plan to them. Having been heard by me, they are now
more willing to listen.
To be completely responsible means that I have the ability
to respond to the people and the situation. Responding effectively
means caring, listening, and taking effective action. In responding
I see the needs and concerns of others as valid for them.
It is not an issue whether or not I agree with their needs
and concerns. It is not an issue whether or not I think they
should have those needs and concerns. I cannot influence others
from a place of disconnection. I must connect with them by
hearing them, caring about them, and understanding them. I
may or may not be able to give them what they want. Giving
people what they want is always secondary. Giving them what
they need is primary. People need to be heard, to be respected,
to be treated as important, and to be given honest, straight
Anger and frustration with the other people is a sign that
I am not taking full responsibility. I am sitting on my "but".
I am blaming them for my inability to move forward. As long
as I am sitting on my "but", I have only two options: 1. Continue
to struggle and make little or no progress. 2. Use force to
get what I want (This may include punitive action, threat,
intimidation, manipulation, or violence.)
Force always creates counterforce. There will be consequences.
You may feel victorious if others are doing what you think
is the right thing to do. The real victory is when they are
doing the right thing because they choose to do it. This is
influence. This is leadership. This is power through complete
The principle of complete responsibility also works in dealing
with situations. Example: "We have a great service to offer,
but a slow economy is costing us sales." Instead of limiting
ourselves by blaming our decrease in sales on the economy,
why not think in terms of possibilities. Why don't we get
off our "but" and look for new, previously not thought of
ways to offer our services?
Kicking our "but" causes us to be more thoughtful, more creative,
and more powerful. To say and mean, regardless of the situation,
"I am completely responsible" makes us possibility thinkers.
Imagine a high level management meeting where leaders are
eagerly assuming responsibility. Problems are noted, and leaders
are motivated to respond, motivated to acknowledge their part
in creating or perpetuating the problem. There are no "but's".
There are no excuses. There is no finger pointing. People
are eager to help each other succeed.
You may read my imagined leadership team and say: "Yeah, right.
I'd love to work in a place like that, but..." If you are
thinking that way, somebody (preferably yourself) needs to
kick your "but". Wherever we work, live or play, we are the
creators of whatever is happening right now. Isn't it time
that those of us who call ourselves leaders got off our "but's"
and started leading? The joy of true success comes to those
of us who are interested in leading a completely responsible
life, and who can envision possible futures. The joy of true
success comes to individuals and organizations who are willing
to kick their "but's" and find the greatness that lies within
William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach,
and the author of Beyond Blaming: Unleashing Power and Passion
in People and Organizations. William offers keynotes and workshops
on leadership and moving beyond blaming. William has developed
the Leaders' Edge, an online leadership class. Learn more
about William at noblaming.com.
Article Source: http://www.upublish.info