responsibilityGuest Post by Mark Roberts

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Mark Roberts again to this blog. Mark is in management in a security services company in London, England. He shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Mark at the end of this post. Enjoy.

I’m actually writing this post from a place of freedom, it’s my choice, and I gain power from making that decisive decision.

But when we look into this a little deeper, we may realize just how much we are maybe not actually making decisions from a place of Responsibility.

I was very fortunate to meet an amazing man, John, a few weeks ago and spent a little time with him. We began to speak about life and living a life from a place of responsible freedom.

I could tell within a few minutes Continue reading

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teach responsibilityTeach Responsibility

In my last post, I talked about how accountability is outside of us — between us and somebody else. On the other hand, responsibility is internal, it’s a feeling of ownership, and is subjective. Responsibility is also transient since feelings of ownership for our lives comes and goes.

The psychology and the language of responsibility is what you and I do when things go wrong. When things go right, we don’t often stop and say, “I wonder who is causing this.” But the moment something goes wrong, a pattern kicks in in our mind that’s looking for reasons.

The language of responsibility, the psychology of responsibility, is about what we think and do when things go wrong.

Responsibility is about how we respond when things go wrong. This pattern is active in our mind all the time because little things go wrong every day.

There’s a mechanism in the mind of every human that’s designed to “help” us cope with things going wrong. This mechanism has a bunch of steps, and when something goes wrong we can get stuck in one of the positions below the line and never actually address the real problem.

The Responsibility Process™ illustrates this:

The Responsibility Process™The lowest step of the ladder at the bottom of the hierarchy is Lay Blame. If you can pin your problem on somebody, then you feel better.

But that is not resourceful, it doesn’t solve the problem because what you’re saying is that you’re at effect and the cause is somewhere else. Your problem won’t go away until somebody else changes.

When you blame someone else for your problem, you are saying the source of power is outside of you.

We can get stuck on these states — of Lay Blame, Justify, Shame, Obligation — or we can get off of it.

Leadership starts with self-leadership. True ownership, true responsibility is the mental place of freedom, choice, and power. It is the place of happiness, success, problem-solving, performance, and resourcefulness.

If you understand this to be true, then only by practicing Responsibility according to The Responsibility Process, and teaching it to others so they too can understand and practice it, can you surround yourself with people on whom you can count — i.e., accountability.

Get Started With This 5-Minute Practice Tip

Print copies of The Responsibility Process Poster for your team. At your next meeting, take at least 5 minutes to introduce and discuss it. Talk about which comes first, accountability or responsibility?

I’ll be interested to hear about what happens.

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

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new beginningChristopher Avery here, acknowledging Jessica for setting and meeting her intention to share her journey here with us each week for a year. Congratulations Jessica, and Wow! Thank you.

The ending of my story starts with the beginning.

Fifty-two weeks ago I sat with a very large intention in front of me, and a set of beliefs around leadership, responsibility, and my capabilities.

For this epic occasion I decided to pull out the booklet from Christopher’s workshop, the event in which I declared my intention to write a post for his blog each week for one year.

In this booklet there was an exercise were I was to write a letter to myself declaring my intention to operate from a mental position of Responsibility when things go Continue reading

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teach responsibilityAccountability is the first tool of management. And, a billion-dollar consulting industry exists to teach organizations how to drive accountability into the organization.

But I’ve noticed this: the more successful consultants and trainers are at driving accountability into your organization, the more personal responsibility goes down.

Let’s look at why that is the case:

Accountability is the first tool of management because it’s the reason for hierarchy. We have work to do that demands more than one person, so we Continue reading

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cycleBirth. Life. Death. These are linear events and yet together they make up cycles.

Religion. Education. Careers. All cyclic, and within them they condition us to cyclic behavior.

Some cycles, like the 24-hour cycles our days run on, are easy to see in their entirety and not difficult to get a complete understanding of the behaviors within that one cycle.

Then there are cycles that happen so fast and often, we can be completely unaware they exist until someone takes the time to share with us a simple model of our mental processes when we encounter a problem.

Other cycles can be so long that it is hard to even identify them as a cycle, let alone try to grasp the complete picture or Continue reading

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the golden ruleImagine you are back in kindergarten. Your life is very simple, half a day of school with plenty of drawing, snacking, and of course recess! There are rules, but one sticks out above the rest, the golden rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

This golden rule gets expanded and expanded as we grow and start to learn how to navigate through the world. Sadly, the more we are exposed to the “reality” of working in a competitive, corporate environment, the harder it seems to follow that one golden rule.

Imagine now a world where Continue reading

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multitaskingGuest Post by Cathy Laffan

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Cathy Laffan again to this blog. Cathy is an innovative executive with a global financial services firm. She shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Cathy at the end of her post. Enjoy.

Have you raised your awareness of your multitasking behavior since my first blog post about it? Were you able to catch yourself doing it? Did you catch yourself before you did it? Have you begun to understand the truth about why you’re doing it? I hope so.

Today, let’s look at the impact of our multitasking behavior. Instead of considering the impact on us and our own activities, let’s consider how our behavior is impacting others.

I caught myself multitasking during a call with a colleague, and I let it continue a bit so I could learn about my behavior.

What I realized is that my speaking pattern Continue reading

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look beyond the labelI have become hyper-aware of the inputs around me. Last week I wrote about what I want, and how to make choices instead of decisions.

So I got to thinking about choices and became almost overwhelmed by the number of choices we are presented with every day.

Then I took it a little further and started thinking about how many choices we have that are more of an illusion of choice than something that Continue reading

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responsibilityGuest Post by Mark Roberts

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Mark Roberts to this blog. Mark is in management in a security services company in London, England. He shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Mark at the end of this post. Enjoy.

Choosing responsibility is a mindset — it’s awareness and it’s a choice that can change the course of an outcome in an instant.

I recently noticed that when I don’t act with responsibility, it has a negative effect on not only me but also my team and our goals and targets.

That stands out for me, especially since being on The Leadership Gift™ Program, a program that is teaching me the art of taking responsibility.

Continue reading

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multi-taskingGuest Post by Cathy Laffan

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Cathy Laffan again to this blog. Cathy is an innovative executive with a global financial services firm. She shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Cathy at the end of her post. Enjoy.

Most of us know what multitasking is – we do it all the time or know someone who does.

There are certainly pros and cons to multitasking.

In my reading, I find that most articles look at it from the perspectives of productivity and time management.

In this two-part blog series, let’s look at multitasking from the perspectives of The Responsibility Process™ and the impact it has on relationships, as well as options for a new way of being.

The Responsibility ProcessOver the past few months, I’ve been writing down my experiences with multitasking.

Here is what I’ve come to realize: there are some people for whom multitasking has become such an integral part of the way they operate that they don’t even realize they’re doing it – a clear case of Denial.

A person in denial is no longer aware of the extent of their multitasking. If you confront people by asking them not to multitask while you’re talking to them, they’ll often tell you to go ahead and talk because they can listen and read email at the same time, and yet you can tell they aren’t hearing you at all.

Some people believe that the reason for their multitasking behavior is the fault of someone else – this is where Blame comes in. They’ll assert that they multitask because their boss has assigned them too much work, their kids have too many activities, or their elderly parent is too demanding, and so their multitasking habit is the fault of those other people.

Still others believe that there are valid reasons for their multitasking habit – sounds like Justify to me. I’ve heard these people justify their habit by saying that they do it during boring meetings to make good use of their time, they do it during their kid’s school play because their kid wasn’t on stage yet, or they can text and drive without problem.

Some people are actually aware of their multitasking habit, want to stop, but keep doing it and then berate themselves for their habit – this is Shame at work. If you talk with this person about their habit you’ll hear them say that they know they do it and they want to change, but rather than focusing on options to help them change, they focus on their perceived failures at changing.

Most people that I’ve spoken with about their multitasking habits are convinced that they must multitask because it’s an expectation at work that they always be connected or available – clearly they believe their habit is an Obligation.

These people will tell you that their boss expects certain things, or that the amount of work that is assigned is impossible to complete in the time allowed without multitasking, or that the very nature of today’s work environment requires you to do it to compete with others.

When a multitasker reaches their breaking point, you’ll hear them say that they can’t go on working like this, or they can’t deal with the demands of their personal life and work, and that something must change – people who have reached this point are at Quit.

They see no way out other than to remove something from their life: change jobs, quit their favorite hobby, stop doing community service, and so on. At no point will you hear them consider that multitasking and the feeling of ‘quit’ is actually a signal that it’s time to Confront the situation and Look for the Truth.

Can you see how multitasking is a ‘below the line’ behavior, anything but taking Responsibility?

Are you a multitasker seeking some alternative? Between now and my next blog post, why not try this:

  • Raise your awareness of when you multitask and ask yourself why you are doing it. Make a few notes.
  • See if you can catch yourself about to multitask and then choose not to do it.
  • Note where you are in The Responsibility Process when you are multitasking.
  • Don’t judge yourself or make an effort to change just yet, just collect information.

In my next post, we’ll consider the impact of multitasking on relationships and options for choosing a new way of being.

Cathy Laffan

Cathy Laffan is a member of  The Leadership Gift™ Program and recently accredited as The Leadership Gift Practitioner. She is a Managing Director with 24 years of experience working for a leading global financial services firm. She has 20 years of experience in the project management field and is certified as a Project Management Professional.

A champion of flexible work arrangements, Cathy has been working remotely full-time for 4 years. Cathy is also a Toastmaster and has earned the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader designations from Toastmasters International.

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