Sunday, 7 August 2011

Everyone is responsible for success and failure (including you)

Joint responsibilityDiscovering the role you played in any success or failure is fundamental to career development.

Consider the last time something when wrong at work. Did you automatically search for someone else to blame? It may be that you believed that it was entirely someone else’s fault; or perhaps you convinced yourself that was the case in order to avoid any potential fallout.

In either event, there is a fundamental flaw in the above approach, which is that you miss out on a key opportunity to learn.

The next time something goes wrong, stop and consider what you could have done to prevent it, or to lessen the impacts. Please note, I’m not suggesting that you publicly take the blame for the actions of others. What I am suggesting however, is that you take a moment to assess how you contributed to the situation and what you would do differently were a similar situation to occur again.

Even if complete responsibility for a task is given to another person, as depicted by the larger circle in the above diagram, there are always things you can do to reduce the likelihood of disaster. Purely as an example, perhaps you could offer to provide guidance, or even just take the time to ask the right questions.

In reading the above, you may have noticed that I have used this blog entry to focus on failures. What I hope you'll find obvious, is that this advice also holds true for successes. With a little reflection you will be able to identify the role you played in delivering great results, which will most certainly increase your chances of future success.

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