The Startup
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The Startup

Extreme Ownership and Responsibility

Photo by David Kovalenko on Unsplash

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African Proverb

This past year I have failed….A lot. In fact, I think I have failed in some way at least once per day. I take full onwership and responsibility for these failures.

One thing that I am realizing is that without daily acute failure, you cannot have a lifetime of chronic success. Embracing this makes failure manageable.

Recently, I been using my walking time as learning time and mentally it is paying dividends. I have been listening to some incredible podcasts by Robin Sharma and by Tony Robbins. Do yourself a favor and check their channels out.

This week I was listening to a podcast titled, “Be the last to speak” with Author and innovator, Simon Sinek. Simon; whose work in thought leadership is admirable, was talking about taking ownership and responsibility for our decisions in business and in life. As he began digging deeper and providing more stories about how responsibility plays out in business, it hit me.

Failure in taking extreme ownership and responsibility is an epidemic.

For example, say your Supervisor gets mad at you for making a big mistake at work. How does this make you feel? Now, what if your supervisor spent less time blaming you and more time working with you to avoid future failures? Let’s play this out to see how this could look.

Read these conversations carefully. Choose which one owns accountability.

I see that there was an error here. What were you thinking? Why did this happen? This can’t happen again or there could be serious consequences.

I see that there was an error here, but I also realize I put you in a situation where success was highly unlikely. how can we work together so that this doesn’t happen again?

This change in response is more than just that. It is also a change in responsibility. In business and in life, we tend to fully blame others without taking accountability and ownership for our own short comings. In the second response we see the supervisor take some responsibility for the situation by owning the truth that they probably could have done more to set you up for success rather than failure.

This plays out in our relationships as well. How often do you jump to blaming those around you without taking accountability for your own feelings, decisions and outcomes?

Read these two conversations carefully and pick which one provides you with a level of responsibility.

I can’t believe that we are in this current situation. Why would my friend lead us astray. He/she should have done a better job planning this trip for us.

I can’t believe that we are in this current situation. I probably should have done a better job helping my friend plan this trip so that we could have avoided this unneeded stress and confusion. I fell short in supporting him/her.

We are so easy to give away ownership and accountability when things don’t go as planned and quick in taking applause when things go right. But you can’t play both parts. It is not a conditional party. You must choose ownership and responsibility in every outcome.

The Future

There is a huge shift coming in business and it is going to involve an abundance of integrity in taking extreme ownership and responsibility for business decisions. The leaders who can create a culture where failure is not only “ok” but actually permissible will be as equally in demand as the leader who can take ownership and responsibility for the shortcomings of them and their team.

People want to be in business and in relationships with other people who not only value them but who can also meet them where they are at through careful examination of their involvement and onwership of the outcome. Don’t be left on the outside looking in. Take responsibility and ownership of your role in the matter and move forward together. Be defined by how well you work together.

Want to take your life, relationships and vocation to the next level? Send me an email to learn about my upcoming book:

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