Recently I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with Christopher Avery renewing my practice of responsibility. The workshop was on The Responsibility Process and how to lead and coach others in how they respond when things go wrong. That said, one of the vital aspects of the course for me was renewing and improving my understanding of responsibility.
The Responsibility Process, derived from field studies, shows how all people mentally process thoughts about avoiding or taking responsibility. It is the core of The Leadership Gift™.
Awareness of The Responsibility Process provides a framework for learning by individuals, teams, and organizations. It is the first how-to model for taking, teaching, and inspiring personal responsibility – the #1 principle of success in any endeavor.
The Responsibility Process …
Taking complete ownership of your ability to choose, create or act in the situation.
Giving up on whatever you are doing to avoid any more pain from being in Shame or Obligation
Do what you have too, not what you would like to do.
Taking the blame onto yourself, often as guilt.
Holding the universe at fault for the problem, making excuses to explain what happened.
Seeking other people to hold at fault when things go wrong.
Ignoring or denying that things have gone wrong.
The Responsibility Process is not something we learn; it is mental process inherent to all of us.
When the process kicks in it first seek to assign Blame, and if you accept the answer, you will respond from a state of blame. If you do not agree with the process’s response, then it seeks an excuse (Justify) for the issue, and so on. To fully take responsibility you must go through each mental step and refuse to act from each irresponsible position the process offers you.
… and how I ended up carrying a box of Lego® to London and back
Shortly after attended the workshop I was due to run a course. The day before I realised the Lego I use for a critical simulation had not been shipped to the venue. To be clear, this is not a small box. I use a 35L plastic box to carry the Lego, and in all, the box weighs over 15kg.
Immediately I caught myself wondering why our back office team had not arranged for it to be sent – Lay Blame – but couldn’t accept that as I’d not told them what I was doing in the course. They are good but not telepathic.
Next came the excuses – Justify – “well, I am pretty busy, these things are bound to happen”. Couldn’t accept that either, it had been on my calendar for a couple of months, I had flown back to the UK to deliver the course, and was well aware that it would include a Lego simulation.
Not accepting the justification led to a feeling of “it is my fault”. I knew I needed the Lego and didn’t let people know to ship it – Shame. This sense is a very seductive for the professional classes; we are indoctrinated to feel guilty when things go wrong.
So, now I had to get this huge box — have you ever noticed how things grow when you do not want to deal with them? — to London somehow. Nothing for it, it was integral to the class: obligation.
Later that day I had a realisation: I did not have to carry the box of Lego, I could run another exercise instead that was more portable – I am a capable person with many such activities, and part of a team with much more. It was hardly insurmountable, even the day before. I owned the situation I was in as it was one of my creation.
However, I decided not to.
As a reminder to take Responsibility, I decided to carry the Lego on the train, across London to the training venue and home back again. It would be around three hours with a large box either at my side or in my arms.
And that’s how I ended up carrying a box of Lego to London and back again.
Want to know more?
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