Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Personal Responsibility

Recently I was involved in a conversation with a group of healthcare managers, specifically with a CEO and one of their frontline managers. Our conversation was impromptu; the three of us happened to be in the same place at the same time, have similar interests and the time to talk. Our conversation commenced with three three of us standing around, chatting; and after a while we had gravitated to a nearby whiteboard and started mapping out our conversation.

We were talking about communication processes and relationships between managers and staff. There was no agenda, it was simply a wide ranging discussion about communication pathways and relationships. In time one aspect of our discussion stood out. As we mapped out our conversation on the whiteboard everything we talked about came back to individual responsibility. In short, whenever we identified a breakdown in the communication process we also identified that someone had failed to take personal responsibility for their actions or outcomes.

It also became clear that people were not aligning their personal behaviour with the mission and executive charter of the organisation. This organisation's mission statement specifically includes words and phrases that indicated the outcomes of the organisation; yet when we compared individual outcomes with the mission statment, it became clear there was a disconnect.

The CEO posed a question. He asked, if it is the role of the executive team to formulate mission statements, strategic plans etc, how do they get others to align themselves with these plan? We agreed that the CEO and the executive team had no control over what others choose to do. We agreed the foremost role of the CEO and the senior executive team was for them to be seen to be living the outcomes contained in the mission. In other words, every action taken by those in senior management must reflect and role model the behavior they expected of others. It was also the role of the executive team, particularly the CEO to educate and raise awareness at all level off the organisation, as to the existence and intent of the mission, strategy and outcomes. After that it comes down to each individual taking personal responsibility for ensuring that every action they take should be aligned with; consistent with the organisations goals and outcomes.

How often do you review your workplace behaviour, activities and outcomes and ask yourself; are the things I do aligned with the organisation's mission, strategic direction? Are the things I do a direct contribution to this organisation's outcomes?

From our impromptu conversation we came to the conclusion that this lack of personal responsibility at every level of management is directly responsible for many organisations having poor communication and commitment.

Let The Journey Continue
John Coxon

Taking You From Frontline Manager to CEO

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