Recently I have started to notice a trend where people will blame others for situations that are truly their own responsibility. You probably know what – or who – I’m talking about.
Can you sell or what?
Typically, as a sales manager, I am fairly cautious when setting sales goals. Some would say that I am too conservative. If I were managing someone like me, I’d certainly want a larger commitment. But, as a sales person, I’d also want to be known as someone who always exceeds my goals and who will agree to a ‘stretch’ goal where the push for higher results makes sense.
Regardless of whether the target is aggressive or conservative, accountability is the important thing. I remember a time when I fell short of selling the desired number of sponsors for an online event. In a conversation with my boss, I started to roll out all the reasons why I had missed the number – until I stopped myself. Not hitting the goal was my fault, despite all the factors that I could name. My responsibility! Fortunately, it was a small piece of the $1 million that I was due to produce and I had already made up the deficit by overachieving in other areas.
Yet the episode was instructive in several ways:
Taking responsibility, now a rare act, can be a competitive advantage if you do it consistently.
It’s liberating to know that, because an outcome is within your control (regardless of circumstances), you can and will make it happen.
Acknowledging a “failure” is almost never as painful as you fear it will be.
Do you have the character?
A willingness to take responsibility is a character trait that I seek out in those with whom I work or considering to hire. It signifies power, leadership and independent thinking. Of course, when you are the CEO, the buck should naturally stop with you but most of us typically report to someone, so indications of accountability at any level are positive signals necessary to be a star, no matter what role you perform.
I’m not going to descend into the messy pool of today’s politics for less affirming examples of the trend to blame others. Make sure however that you frequently conduct your own objective self-review and acceptance of your responsibilities if you plan to succeed in the long run.
See you soon?
On a separate note, I’ll be in New Orleans for Expo! Expo! in December. If you’d like to discuss this or other newsletters that I’ve written, I’d be thrilled to get your perspective. And I love to meet event people as passionate as I am about our business.
Until the next time, consider how you can make ‘the buck stop’ at your own desk….