Have you ever struggled with taking responsibility or even getting others to take responsibility? Excuses seem to abound everywhere. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is on the athletic field, “coach it was a bad pass”, classroom, “the dog ate my homework” or especially the workplace, “I didn’t have time”. Excuses seem to be offered in so many places. It may be true; it is not all your fault. But, if we don’t accept responsibility/accountability (for our part), we make ourselves victims and unable to address or fix anything.

A mentor of mine said, An excuse has the skin of a reason but is stuffed with a lie. Click To Tweet I remember when I was coaching High School basketball. We had an opposing player consistently driving the baseline and our defensive player couldn’t stop him. I taught players to put their foot closest to the baseline- on the baseline- so if an offensive player wanted to get around them on the baseline side – he would step out of bounds. That sounds simple enough and requires some anticipation. I remember looking at the player beside me on the bench and I asked, “Can you stop him from driving the baseline”? His response was, “I will try coach”. I said, “Never mind” and asked the player beside him. That player said, “Yes” and I put him in the game. This was my point (and my players knew it), no one gets it right every time but when someone says, “I will try”, they leave the door open for failure and their response becomes, “Well, I tried”. I expected players to try and even fail ~ I sure have failed. But, I wanted them to go in with the attitude of doing it, and not planning their exit excuse. If that sounds too tough- maybe that is why I am no longer coaching. 😉

I recently read a book, The Oz Principle, that has a great tool for helping people take accountability for fixing problems. I often explain the chart and then ask this question, “Are you above or below the line”? Take a look at the graphic below:

What are your thoughts?  I will take a deeper dive on my next post… Please leave a comment.