Seth Godin had a short and sweet blog post today about taking responsibility.
Seth uses a baseball analogy, that of calling for a fly ball. When two players are both in a position to make the catch, Seth notes that a player will yell “I got it!”, as a way of taking responsibility for making the catch. In such a situation, a player does not yell, “It’s yours!”
Seth notes that this is the same with responsibility. The best thing to do is to take responsibility, not to assign it.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always been a big believer in taking responsibility for my own actions, and for my own success.
I’ve never felt the need to have someone motivate me, ultimately motivation has to come from within.
As a result, I don’t think I’m very good at motivating others, since I think a person’s performance is something they need to take personal responsibility for.
There are obvious situations where responsibility is assigned, such as who signs off on a company’s 10-K, or who will be calling the plays in a huddle, Even in baseball, on some fly balls in the infield, the pitcher will assign responsibility for the catch to a specific player.
But even in such situations, once you have been given a responsibility, you need to embrace it, and carry out that responsibility to the best of your ability.
Going back to the original baseball analogy, here’s an example of what could go wrong in such a situation, although the problem here is probably lack of communication as opposed to a willingness to take responsibility…
And just in case I misinterpreted what Seth was trying to say, I take full responsibility for such an error…