There’s been something about values that has been missing for me. That was until I figured out that every company that wants to be seen as one that works in the interests of its stakeholders, especially its customers and employees needs to focus on one value and have it be a core value.
You may be curious about what that value is. I won’t keep you waiting. It’s the value of personal responsibility. This last video in our series on culture and values will end on what I think is the most important value… One that you’ll need in your company if you want to quickly move forward.
Welcome back for part three of our conversation around values. You know there’s been something about values that have been missing for me, that was until I figured out that every company that wants to be seen as one that works in the interest of its stakeholders, especially it’s customers and employees, needs to focus on one value, and have it be a core value. Now, I’m hoping that you’re curious about what that value is, and I’m not gonna keep you waiting, it’s the value of personal responsibility. You know, our last video in our series on culture and values, and what I think is the most important value, one that you’ll need in your company if you wanna quickly move forward, and that’s personal responsibility.
So let’s jump right in and see how personal responsibility is the crucial value for your company, or at least in my opinion, it is.
You know, if personal responsibility isn’t a real core value, make it an aspirational value, and let others in your company know which type it is. You know, it’s really important to do this. Too often, people say a core value is a core when it’s an intention to make it a core value. Now, if you say personal responsibility is a core value in your company, and you’re not exhibiting personal responsibility yourself, it’s gonna be seen as a ruse. So if it’s not, say it, it’s okay. You just wanna make sure that you eventually get there.
You know, if you have people in your company who are blaming others, or justifying their behavior, personal responsibility is not a core value unless every time you see that, you’re bringing them up for that. You know, it’s really important to do this, in my opinion.
So here’s where your personal responsibility, for me, has become such an important thing, it’s very personal. And when I first started my company, I was the worst manager of all times. The first three years I owned my company, every single day, I screamed at somebody. Every single day, I blamed something, and demeaned them when they made a mistake. Every single day, I justified my behavior, saying they had it coming. Well the truth is, my company was falling apart, I wasn’t happy, my employees hated me, and I don’t think my customers were really happy with me either. And then, I did something, I went to a seminar, and the seminar forced me to look in the mirror, and say, “It wasn’t them that was the problem, “it was me that was the problem.” So I didn’t go back that day and say, “Hey, our new core value is personal responsibility.”
I did go back and start talking about personal responsibility versus justification and blaming, and I told people, when I start going what I call below-the-line behavior, you have to bring me up on this. Now the truth is, it took us years to make personal responsibility a core value in our company, but while we’re making it a core value in our company, we called it an aspirational value even though we didn’t use that word. We just never said, “This is what we’re about.” It wasn’t until probably six or seven years after I’d been in business, I started talking about personal responsibility being a core value, because it was at that time. Everybody in our company had to be personally responsible, and if they weren’t they just weren’t gonna be able to stick around.
So, you need to be the one who walks the talk. You need to stop making excuses and not only say the buck stops here, but show it as well. People never listen to what you say, but they do watch what you do, and if you’re showing by example that personal responsibility is something that’s really important in your life, and really important in your company, people will get it. If you’re not showing it, and you’re blaming other people along the way, you know, you’re just not gonna be seen as real when you say personal responsibility is a core value in your company.
So, let me tell you something about why this works better. When I’m running a company and everybody’s being personally responsible, mistakes are going to happen, whether I want mistakes to happen or I don’t want mistakes to happen, they’re going to happen anyway. And when you’re running a company where everybody is personally responsible, when a mistake happens, guess what happens about the mistake? Somebody puts their hand up and says, “Hey, it was my fault, “I did it, here’s what I learned, “here’s what we’re gonna do to fix it, “and hopefully it won’t happen again. “And by the way, I think we can systematize the fix “so it’s gonna be easy for others to understand “and not make the same mistake as well.” That’s why personal responsibility is so fast.
Now let’s say instead of showing personal responsibility, people in your company like to justify and blame. A mistake is made. First thing they’re going to do is they’re going to blame somebody else for the problem. And if for whatever reason, you decide not to let them blame the other person for the problem and go chasing their tail after the person who didn’t make the mistake, they may start justifying what they’re doing. Now, what’s happening while we’re blaming and we’re justifying? The thing that’s happening is you’re not solving the problem. Your company’s going backwards, it’s not going forwards. Now if, in fact, instead they say, “Oh, I’m responsible for it, “and here’s what made the mistake, “and here’s what we’re gonna do,” that whole blaming and justifying cycle that you go through could stop. You got right to the problem, you took responsibility for it, you said, “Here’s what I’m gonna do to fix it,” and you moved on.
You know, it’s not like a big deal around this, is that we all make mistakes, and if we’re gonna be personally responsible, and raise our hands and say, “Yes, I made the mistake, “and here’s what I’m gonna do to fix it,” you and your company are gonna be much better off, and people are gonna really, really like working with you.
So, who can use personal responsibility?
Well first, you can use it yourself, but you gotta start this with yourself. If you don’t start it with yourself, then nobody else in your company’s gonna do it, and nobody else in your company’s gonna take you seriously when you do it.
You know, your outside advisors can use it also. So, as you’re working with outside advisors, if they start blaming or justifying, you gotta stop and say, “Hey, that’s not what we’re here for, “we’re here to solve this problem, “and I don’t really wanna hear excuses, “I wanna hear what we can do to solve it.”
Same thing with your employees. If your employees are blaming or justifying, you can always ask and say, “Is this above-the-line, “or is this below-the-line behavior?” And the truth is, you want above-the-line behavior, meaning people are being personally responsible.
Same thing for your suppliers. If your suppliers are making all sorts of wonderful excuses about things they’re doing, you can raise your hand and say, “Hey, you know for us around here, “personal responsibility is really important, “so I need you guys to be personally responsible “for what you’re doing. “If you have a problem and we’re causing it, “please let us know so we can do something about it. “And if you’re having a problem, and you’re not fixing it, “and you’re just blaming us, “we’re not gonna be customers of yours “for a really long time.”
Then finally, with your customers. And I know this is really hard to do, but if a customer is blaming you unfairly, or justifying your behavior for why they’re not doing something that you’ve agreed to do, you really need to bring it up to them. You don’t wanna say, “Hey, you’re not being personally responsible,” you wanna have a conversation about how we can get to the point of being personally responsible. Because remember, personal responsibility equals speed, blaming and justifying equals being stuck, and we don’t wanna be stuck, we wanna be moving forward.
So I have a question for you. Are you willing to make the final step, and take personal responsibility a core value in your company?
It’s gonna help you build trust with all your stakeholders, I can promise you that. And I can tell you from personal experience that having a values-led business that starts with personal responsibility makes it easy to run your company in an above-board and ethical manner where everybody is on the same page.
So what do you think about having a values-led company, where personal responsibility is one of your core values? Why don’t you scroll down and leave a comment below about what you think about having personal responsibility being a core value in your company.
And while you’re at it, if you found the last three weeks have been valuable for you, why don’t you click on the link below this video, and set a time for us to talk. You can find out how a values process in your company will make your company run better, and likely have you be a more congruent and profitable company.
So, this is Josh Patrick, you’re at The Sustainable Business, thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon, and I also hope you found the last three weeks, with our series on values, something that was useful for you. If you did, just send me an e-mail saying, “Gee, I really appreciated that.” Or if you didn’t like it, send me an e-mail and say, “Hey, here’s what was wrong with it, “and this is what I wish you had done differently.”
So thanks a lot, and again, I hope to see you back here really soon.