Rip Off that Mask. Let’s See Who’s Really Responsible for All of This?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed how it’s possible for different cultures to produce equally profound results. H ow do you create a mindset where everyone takes full responsibility for their actions and refuses to blame outside forces for failure or disappointment?


Déjà vu all over again?

How often have you heard that phrase banging against your skull … and how often was it telling you …

“I’ve been here before.”

“Didn’t we already solve this problem?”

“Why does this subject keep coming up all the time?”

Why do these issues keep resurfacing?

We’ve been talking about culture and accountability over the last few weeks, and as I’m sure in your experience, you’ve already discovered how often so many of these issues continue to be the same challenges year after year.

They’re constantly resurfacing, often in disguise as a different issue altogether … but really, the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

Have we become dumb and dumberer?

Why do these same issues keep popping up like whack-a-moles?

I don’t think we’ve gotten “dumb and dumberer,” so what’s going on? Why are we tackling the same problems over and over again?

What I’ve discovered is that there is a consistent swarm of resilient little creatures that appear like marbles on a bedroom floor … we’re constantly dodging them, looking for ways to step around them, kicking them to the side … but rarely do we take time to permanently organize them so we don’t trip over them again tomorrow.

There are a dozen forces aligned against us …

Yes, our inability to make the tough decisions is one of those forces, but there’s much more.

By my count, there are at least a dozen universal forces that have united to defeat our best-laid plans.

So, I’ve decided to rip off their masks and let them be seen for what they are … mostly, our own creations. But for our comfort or timidity or lack of conviction, they have a life of their own and prevent us from getting done and permanently resolving those things that are most important to us.

One of the principal demons aligned against us the temptation to blame outside forces for our struggles.

How do companies become “Great by Choice”?

In Jim Collin’s book, Great by Choice, he explores what differentiates the most successful companies … during chaotic and unpredictable times … from the also-rans.

Why do some companies fail to successfully respond to the obstacles thrown in their way … by a wayward economy, rising energy prices, oppressive regulation, predatory pricing, you name it … while others thrive despite the obstacles?

10X Companies REFUSE to be overrun by external forces

The 10X companies he studied refused to be overcome by these external forces.

They recognized that unexpected roadblocks, even the black swans that Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote about in his popular book of the same name, were simply grist for their mill. The most successful companies modified their plans but followed them relentlessly, dodging bullets, sidestepping land mines, and confronting immovable objects as just one more tripwire to step over.

It was simply unacceptable to “blame” these outside factors or to even proffer them as a reason for failure or disappointment.

Accepting full responsibility is a mindset

More than anything, for these companies, it is a mindset. They embrace the notion that obstacles, of one kind or another, are a permanent part of the natural landscape, and don’t let these inevitable forces derail their plans.

They don’t blame these uncontrollable events for every shortcoming and don’t let uncontrollable environmental factors strangle the initiatives over which they do have domain.

When you look through the glass, it’s really a mirror

[pullquote]The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it. ~Lou Holtz[/pullquote]

It’s human nature for us to want to look out the window rather than in the mirror to find the culprit, but that’s the wrong lens.

Yes, the environment will throw spitballs at us all the time. We can’t ignore these forces … but we can create a plan to take overcome them.

We can dodge some of them, turn others to our advantage … but we must turn them to our purposes because they probably aren’t going away … and we don’t want to either.

Here’s the thing. Heads down. Focus. It’s on you!

In the meantime, focus on what you can control.

Don’t blame the economy or any of the uncontrollable forces that conspire against us.

Forget the wet field, the injured player, the referee’s bad call. Have a five-minute pity party if you must … but then, move on.


Revise your plan as needed and focus on what you can control.

Nothing more.

Heads down.

Keep going.

Consider the environment but focus on what you can control and you will have grasped the only real thing you can count on.


Question: What can you do to contribute to your company’s mindset about personal responsibility? You can easily add your comment below, or by visiting our Facebook Page or @Exkalibur on Twitter. I visit them every day and look forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with you.

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