Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Your most important trait

What is the most important trait you can have, personally and professionally, and how does it manifest itself at home and in the workplace? I guarantee that this one trait defines your success, or lack of success, at home and at work.

Only today it hit me that people carry traits from work to home, home to work, and they just show up differently even though they have the same root. I know that I am going to get blamed for ruining people's day with this post, but here it goes....

The trait is: Taking responsibility instead of looking for people to blame.

You have heard this before, I know. But have you considered how it manifests at work and at home for the same person?

Keep reading. There is a marketing point I am getting to.

At home and in social settings, someone that takes responsibility will give people the benefit of the doubt. They will get burned occasionally, but they will chalk that up as a learning experience. Since they see themselves as the master of their domain, they will feel confident that they are improving and they are helping the people around them improve.

The opposite of this trait are those people that blame. The world is not easy for them and it is everyone else’s fault. Sometimes it very well could be someone else’s fault, but by not taking responsibility for their contribution to a situation, they are not learning or improving. These people start building arguments for why other people caused a situation or why they failed before it occurs.

Based only on my own unscientific observations over time, which has included many years as an entrepreneur and manager, I am going to make a troubling statement:

There are many times the numbers of people that blame than there are those that take responsibility, and people that blame are not employable.


Why are blamers not employable? It is probably obvious by now.

Blamers will never be happy. No amount of money, no cushy job and no relationship can ever make them happy. They are planning for the failures in their head all the time. At work, they will try to take less responsibility and they will be upset with any task that is outside of their narrow job description. Instead of thinking about how to be successful at a new task, they will start devising excuses for the failure that they are sure is coming.

Buzz Marketing with Winners

Buzz Marketing with employees is only going to be successful if you have a group of people that take responsibility and enjoy the challenge. They accept the responsibility of helping create a more successful business and they do not feel entitled to anything that they did not earn. People that take responsibility are winners even when they fail. They are not afraid to make a mistake and take responsibility when they do make one, and learn from it. They also enjoy life and celebrate success because they take responsibility for the good and the bad.

The good news is that once a blamer becomes aware of this, they can work at it and make the shift. I would suggest reading all kinds of empowering books and keeping aware that they are in charge of their life.

Two good friends of mine have books that, at their root, address this issue.

Career Intensity is excellent at taking responsibility for your career.

Make It Great is about not settling for good. Make your life great.