We all want things to be better; everyone wants positive change in their life and at work, but where does change begin? We often want others to change to meet our expectations, when the change should begin with us. As comedienne Lilly Tomlin said, “Somebody should do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody.”
When we point fingers and pass the blame — little will change. Only by taking responsibility can change be affected. Don’t concentrate on what you cannot control; concentrate on what you can control. If you wait for others to change to meet your expectations… you may be waiting a long time. It’s easy to say it’s not your responsibility, or it’s someone else’s fault, but if that’s your plan, you have no plan. How’s the idea of expecting others to change to fit your needs working so far?
Remember, something can always be done. What can you do?
Don’t Point Fingers
Finger pointing — we all do it. It’s easy to do and often seems justified, but what’s gained? Regardless of how “real” the blame — blaming will not improve the results; it could make things worse. If someone dropped the ball, didn’t follow through, or did a poor job — pointing a finger will not make it better (OK — you might feel a little better, but how does it help?).
Complaining about problems and mistakes to others, without looking for solutions, is toxic. Do you want to improve, complete the task, and make it better?
Stop Griping and Start Helping
• How can it get done?
• How can it be improved?
• How may it be avoided next time?
• What needs to be changed?
Think about it — any excuse, regardless of its validity, becomes a reason not to perform. Do you want to perform at the highest level, or under-perform due to excuses?
An Exercise for Improvement
You’re the commander of an army facing horrific conditions — what do you do?
• Most troops lack uniforms, shelter, or warm clothing, including shoes.
• There are severe shortages of food and potable water.
• Over half the troops are sick with dysentery, flu, malnutrition, and worse.
• There is a severe shortage of ammunition.
• Nearly half the citizens of your country are against the war.
• The government is months behind paying your troops.
• You’re fighting a highly trained, larger, better-equipped force.
• Volunteers regularly abandoned posts—sometimes—entire regiments.
History buffs will recognize these obstacles as only a few of those faced by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. I’d say they were substantial roadblocks, but as you know, he didn’t use them as excuses.
Quit finger pointing. Stop allowing excuses to affect your performance, and find a way to help. Be the change.