ARE YOU A BLAMER OR AN EXCUSE MAKER?

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SHOW DATE: MAY 15, 2013

“It’s not my fault.”  Admit it: you’ve said these four words countless times.  Sure, sometimes you use this phrase as an excuse, but sometimes it’s true. After all, it’s not your fault that Brandy, the new admin assistant, forgot to get a confirmation from the client, right?!

Wrong. If you want to be truly successful in your career and get that promotion you’re convinced you deserve, then you need to be a real leader. And leaders are people who take on great responsibility—not just for what they do, but for what happens all around them. In other words, if you want to achieve success, you need to embrace a new mindset—one that requires you to be 100% responsible for everything.

Think this all sounds impossible? It’s not. Keep reading and we guarantee you’ll get it… and maybe even get that promotion, too.

First of all, let’s look for signs that you’re not being responsible enough in your career.  Do you ever say any of the following phrases?

  • “That’s not in my job description”
  • “Don’t blame me for that”
  • “I’m doing the best I can”
  • “That’s one of Sarah’s duties”

If you say any of the above, then you’re not being responsible enough at work. And chances are, you’re being one of two classic archetypes:

  1. The Blamer: The blamer always tries to shift responsibilities, obligations, and blame onto others.
  2. The Excuse-maker. This person always has a great reason why something didn’t happen, and it’s always a factor outside his/her control.

Bringing this mindset to work isn’t just unproductive; it’s also stopping you from being as great as you can.  Yes, it’s scary to take responsibility for everything around you. It feels like it’s a quick way to get in trouble and have your head on the chopping block.

But that’s not the way it works. If you really embrace the idea that you are 100% responsible for everything that happens—whether in your control or not—then you will become powerful.  You will stop creating excuses and start creating solutions.  And when you do that, the workplace improves, your team does better, you are recognized as the driving force behind positive change, and you get promoted into the position you deserve.

So here’s how the practice of being 100% responsible plays out in action. Here are three scenarios, each with a description of how the responsible worker responds:

Scenario 1: You’re late to work because of bad traffic.

Someone who is irresponsible says, “It’s not my fault it’s late.  The traffic was terrible.  I can’t do anything about that.” But if you’re 100% responsible, you recognize that you can do something about it:  Even if traffic is only bad once in a while, you decide to leave 10 minutes early every day just in case.  Sure, you’ll usually get to work 10 minutes early.  But that means you’ll be the first person in the office every day. And you’ll never be “the late guy.”  The boss will notice these facts, and you’ll be rewarded.

Scenario 2: Your teammate often misses deadlines, so the team is always in trouble

Think you can’t be responsible for your teammate’s work? Think again. You can start sending her friendly reminders. You can check in on her. If you’re worried about being one of those guys—the kind that is always too involved in other’s business—you can adjust your approach. For example, BCC people in emails so you’re not publicly humiliating the slacker teammate. Or you can start seeing her as a slacker and start seeing her as someone who is struggling, which will lead you to offer help. Showing that you care about the worker—not just the product—could lead her to open up and express what the real problem is. That will lead you to developing solutions instead of making excuses, and that’s what gets you promoted.

Scenario 3: A tornado wiped out every possible route to work.

OK, so there are some “acts of God” that you truly can’t control. But you can still respond to them as someone who is responsible. Instead of taking a “well I can’t help it when a tornado comes through” approach, show that you feel responsible and be proactive. Imagine getting a call from someone who apologized profusely for not being able to get to work because of a natural disaster. You wouldn’t blame them—you know it’s not their fault—but you would hold them in high regard for feeling bad about it instead of feeling like an entitled victim.

Finally, the other great thing about being 10% responsible is that it makes you irreplaceable.  Once people see that you re responsible fro everything—from always being on time to being the one who ensures the printer never runs out of toner—they will realize they can’t live without you. That’s the kind of job security everyone wants to have…and the kind of person who climbs the corporate ladder faster than everyone else.

THESE 5 CITIES WANT YOU…TO WORK THERE

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SHOW DATE: MAY 8, 2013

Can’t find a job? Stop blaming the economy, your undergrad degree, and your resume. Have you ever considered that your problem might be where you live? A recent report unvielied five cities with unemployment rates under 5%—way below the national average.  So if you’re serious about your career, start thinking about packing your bags for one of these cities:

5. Houston, TX

4. Ft. Worth, TX

3. Salt Lake City, UT

2. Nashville, TV

1. San Francisco

HOW TO ANSWER “WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU?”

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SHOW DATE: May 8, 2013

One of the most dreaded interview questions is, “Why should I hire you?” But this is a great question for the interviewee—if you know how to answer it. Your answer should always touch on one of two areas: fit or experience. If you have a natural fit with the company (either because you know people there, you have a synergy with the company culture, or you love the responsibilities your position requires), you should stress that. If you have significant experience in the job you are applying for, then stress that. And as a last resort, if you have no direct experience, discuss how your past experience has served as a the perfect preparation.

INCLUDE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN YOUR RESUME

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SHOW DATE: May 1, 2013

Including accomplishments on your resume is a great way to enhance your leadership profile and steer the reader’s eye towards your professional highlights. See the three examples below

–Good but functionary: “Responsible for organizing the filing system.”

–Better; includes an accomplishment: “I reorganized the filing system.”

–Best, with a metric: “I enhanced productivity by 6% through reorganizing filing system.”

HIRE OF THE WEEK: KHOU WEATHERMAN DAVID PAUL

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Every week, Auntie Evan and Uncle David scour the news to find a Hire or Fire of the Week. Hires display impeccable aplomb and go above and beyond what they’re expected to do on the job. Fires do the opposite. Tune in every week to see who’s getting Hired or Fired next.

SHOW DATE: May 1, 2013

It’s happened to you: in the middle of an important call or client presentation, disaster strikes! For Houston weatherman David Paul, the disaster was an unshakeable bout of hiccups that lasted the full duration of his on-air weather forecast. But, in a clip that has since gone viral, David held it together, didn’t give up, and got through the experience like a trooper. While his ordeal is amusing to watch, his perseverance is exemplary.

People don’t remember YOUR schedule

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SHOW DATE: September 26, 2012

So put your unavailability in writing. People don’t remember everything you say.
They don’t know when you’re going on vacation or when you’re having surgery.
Sorry. The world does not revolve around you. Put it in an email. My employee just
said she wouldn’t be at a meeting because she would be on jury duty. “I mentioned it
might happen a couple of weeks ago.” Are you kidding me?