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Tag Archives: responsibility

I recently listened to a thought provoking and inspiring talk, the closing keynote to the APCO Canada 2014 Conference in Vancouver on 2014 November 6.

The speaker was Dr. John Izzo and his talk was entitled “100/0: 100% Responsibility/ Zero Excuses How Stepping Up can Change Your Company and the World” Among the points he  made were:

  • Always ask yourself “What can we/I do?” In other words don’t sit back (perhaps complain) and wait for someone else to take action to resolve an issue.
  • Do something, do anything“. However small the action may be and even it is just to get together with others to discuss what you can collectively do – take action!
  • Stepping up and taking action can lead to a ripple that leads others to act. Just by taking the initiative, your actions can be multiplied beyond what you thought you could accomplish alone.

Dr. John Izzo has written six books including his latest  “Stepping Up”, which was the basis for the inspiring talk at APCO Canada.

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I love it when things come together – one concept coming from two different sources thereby tying together the two things and hammering home the commonality. I have recently listened to two audio books that both made a common point although coming from different perspectives. The idea? Responsibility! It ends up being good for both the individual and the organization.

In Great Work, Great Career: How to Create Your Ultimate Job and Make an Extraordinary Contribution by Dr Stephen R. Covey and Jennifer Colosimo, the authors make the point that for an individual to have great job and career they must make a contribution  and that means taking responsibility. Covey and Colosimo suggest  that an individual is on the right track  when they tend to express their job in terms of what they are responsible for,  rather than simply as a job description.

The focus of How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins, is on organizations (as opposed to individuals). Collins discovered that one of the signs of imminent failure for a company is when the company does not have or does not allow individuals in key positions to take responsibility. Collins mentions that companies on the downswing develop excessive bureaucratic processes that rob individuals of their ability to accept responsibility. He states that in some cases this move away from personal responsibility may actually drive the individuals that are so-inclined way from the organization accelerated its decline. Conversely, an organization with strong individuals willing to take responsibility is a strong and successful organization.

So for the individual and for a successful company there is a common denominator – individuals who take responsibility, who are given responsibility – who are responsible!

A serendipitous discovery but one that  makes such obvious sense when you think about it.