It’s not my fault!

“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

 This weekend, as I’ve listened to the budget crisis unfolding and watched people who should be held in the highest esteem fail miserably at accepting responsibility for their actions, or lack thereof, I thought a good personal accountability quote might be in order. As is often the case when I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for, I’ll get around to cracking open one of my books on Ben Franklin and find precisely the sentiment I wished to express. Sadly, Ben must be spinning in his grave at all of the excuses we see coming out of Washington today.

Unfortunately, lack of personal accountability is not limited to politicians. (I almost said “political leaders” – but that would be an oxymoron) No, I see it all the time at work. Too often, when a problem arises, the first thing I hear from someone is, “Well, my associate …” or “Well, my manager told me …” It reminds me of another quote that says, “When you point a finger at someone else, three of your fingers are pointing back at yourself.”

Recently, when I met my new RVP for the first time, I told him that my managers don’t make mistakes. If a mistake is made, it is on me because I have not trained them properly. As I contemplate that thought, it occurs to me that maybe I haven’t properly trained some of my people on how to be personally accountable. To accomplish that, I’ve decided to profile one of my senior store managers that I’ll just call “C”.

When I first met C over 5 years ago, he was one of the youngest team members in the area and was still prone to, shall we say, not always making wise choices.  C has had his share of ups and downs. Yet, through it all, C has always been the first to admit when he made a mistake.  This was demonstrated to me again just last week during our monthly manager training meeting. During the meeting, I received email notification that C’s store had received a financial violation (failure to batch Credit Card receipts) and it was on the store associate. During lunch, I mentioned this to C and without hesitation he said, “No that was me, not my associate”.

I’ve come to expect this from C. He may not always take the right action or make the right decision, but he will always take responsibility for his action or decision and I commend him for that. That speaks volumes about his character and integrity, and that, my friends, is the most important thing you will ever possess. Without character and integrity, you have nothing.

In the end, it is not really all that important who made a mistake. What is important is how to repair the damage that was caused by the mistake, then take steps to learn from it so the same mistake does not happen again.

But this lesson goes much further than pointing fingers, it’s really about making excuses. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work to point the finger at someone else, so we become victims of circumstances. We all hear that every day when trying to collect from from delinquent customers.  “It’s not my fault! I lost my job, had a car wreck, my wallet was stolen, my daughter’s pregnant with quadruplets, her husband’s in jail and my dog died!”

Making excuses is easy, but doing the right things, holding yourself personally accountable for your actions, is hard. Sometimes it’s very hard. But no one ever said that being the best person that you can be was ever going to be easy. Let’s leave the excuses to the politicians and delinquent customers. We’re better than that.

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Monty Rainey is a District Manager with over 14 years in the self storage industry currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at http://www.montyrainey.com .

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About montyrainey

Public Speaker and District Manager. Mission: To empower and inspire others professionally, personally and spiritually to elevate their lives to a higher level.
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