nce upon a time (isn't that right, in fairy tale books the O always seem to be huge) I attended a conference featuring one of my favorite speakers. He said something that I've never forgotten and find wise and a bit unconventional. In regards to teaching, whether that be written or spoken, he said, “Don’t just say something, when you teach make sure it comes from an internal burning and you feel like you can no longer withhold this information and must tell others or you’ll explode.” I've struggled often with the tension of creating content just for the sake of creation and reconciling this wise advice. It seems like everyone on the World Wide Web just creates to create at times. Top each his own and I've gone through stretches where I was a blogging animal, however, I now find myself in a position of sitting back and analyzing life until I must write. So without further suspension here are thoughts that would otherwise cause me to explode if I don’t get them out regarding a hot button issue.
Responsibility has two responses acceptance or deferment. The difference between success and mediocrity is how one responds when faced with responsibility.
In my current position there is a report I run to catch items done incorrectly by users that cause errors in the system we use. These errors potentially cause customer delays so it is important for them to be corrected quickly. Naturally my report is based on who set the widget up incorrectly as the responsibility should fall upon them. However, despite common logic, daily I go back and forth with folks who email me wanting to defer that responsibility elsewhere. Really? Why is it anyone else’s responsibility to clean up your mess? You see this kind of behavior if you watch carefully daily. Can you tell me who did this? I didn’t do that because you didn’t tell me to. My mistake was based upon [insert excuse here]. Pointing the finger outward is a lazy thing, it is the easiest way to duck and weave around accepting responsibility. Pointing the finger inwardly and accepting responsibility is tough, but the best thing to do. So many things happen because people don’t accept responsibility. Most shows on television, besides those tired and predictable reality shows, plots hinge upon characters not accepting responsibility. Cover ups, lies, cheating, stealing, blaming others, and a barrage of unhealthy and destructive human behavior are all results of deferring responsibility. Why not just accept responsibility when and where you can. Why change the thought process from “is this my job” to “how can I handle this NOW”? If you have the tools to find out who created that widget why not find out for yourself, why ask someone else? If you did something wrong, why not fix it? If you made a mistake, why not admit it? Deferring responsibility outside of yourself brews a nice smelly pot of mediocrity. This mediocrity is of responsibility deferment is saturating our culture and has become status quo somehow. Our culture has come to accept mediocrity.
Is mediocrity something we should accept though? No, mediocrity is a cancerous ideology that plagues our culture and businesses that should be stamped out. Kony2012 was cool, but I say let’s go Mediocrity2012 and shut it down. There is one response to responsibility, accept it folks. Accept responsibility for what is in front of you and take the steps to remediate whatever dilemma you face however you can. That’s not my job, can you have so and so do it, where do you find this, etc. These types of statements are expressions of potential being choked out by mediocrity. Poke the box and oppressive culture of mediocrity and start the change personally, others will follow, you’ll see.