Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NOT the Other Guy

Here is a suggestion for a really useful 2009 Resolution: from now on, whenever something happens (that you don’t like), here is a new/different question that you should ask first. And this is an easy resolution to keep because you ask this one question every time, no matter what has happened or regardless of “who did it”. This question never changes.

You ask, “What can I do to improve this situation?”

This is slightly radical because it is the opposite of what we often do, which is to find someone or something else to blame. This resolution offers you the opportunity to create a completely new approach where there is no blame. Just responsibility. And that would be yours. You get to be the one who takes responsibility for finding the solution.

Blaming is historical. Blaming keeps you stuck in the past and stops you from moving forward. This new question works because it is the opposite of blame. This question is completely about the future and what will happen next. This question will free you and your team to find a true solution.

Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Don’t wait for someone else to change their behavior or “get better” or do something differently. When you choose this new perspective of asking “what can I do?” you will see new solutions, new participants and new options. You will feel empowered (sorry for the cliché) because you will be the one to take action. Right away.

In just a few weeks our new President will certainly offer us some inspirational challenges on his inauguration day. But let’s not wait for Barack’s message; instead, let’s look back to JFK. He challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.

It’s corny, I know, but let’s take that message to ourselves and our teams and our businesses this year and “Ask not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for your company”.