Take Responsibility

Last week we reviewed “Serve others well”, the first of the H5H values.  As we continue, we will challenge each individual in our organization to examine themselves and where they stand in their belief and execution of each value on a daily basis.  First, do you believe in the value or statement and then secondly, do you behave like it? 

Responsibility is “response ability”. Literally the ability to respond. Not to complain. Not to blame. Not to make excuses. To respond. To meet challenges head on. To find solutions. To get things done when they need to be done.

Who or what controls your life or your career?  The achievers in this world believe that whatever happens to them, they are responsible for it.  If you don’t believe that you are responsible for your own life, then you are under the control of circumstances. You are just an object in someone else’s world.  That is not the way to success.

Think about it — who would you rather deal with?  Someone who makes excuses and blames other people for everything that goes wrong or someone who takes responsibility and gets the problem solved no matter whose “fault” it is?  When you are willing to take responsibility, you immediately stand out from the crowd.  You become an effective, “can-do”, results-oriented person.  You’re a leader and an achiever.  It’s only logical that when you’re willing to accept more responsibility, you’ll get more responsibility.

  • What are you willing to take responsibility for today?
  • If your sales are down vs. last year, who is responsible?
  • If your variance on food is off, who should chase down the answers?
  • When labor costs are too high, who should react and adjust?
  • When you are confronted by a guest about long ticket times or poor service…..

You take control when you rise above the petty name-calling and blame-assigning.  You take control when you take responsibility for where you are and where you are going.   Don’t blame others, don’t blame the situation, and don’t blame yourself.  Instead of wasting your energy on assigning blame, empower yourself by accepting responsibility.  It’s easy to slosh around endlessly in a swamp full of excuses. But, after all that sloshing, as impressive as it may be, you’ll still be mired in a swamp.  Instead, climb out, step up, move forward, raise the bar, get to work and seize the opportunity to make a difference.

Remember Rule #6 of the Ritz Carlton Gold Standard – “I own and immediately resolve guest problems.”  That is true responsibility.  It says that you will seek out, communicate, dig into or ask how the guest experience is and then you will RESOLVE (do something) about that experience.

Taking responsibility is the most critical step toward success that you will ever make in anything you undertake, either personally or professionally. The ability to take responsibility for everything you are, everything you do and everything you have is also the biggest challenge you will ever face in your life. Few people ever really master this step which is why so few people ever achieve greatness.

No one gives you responsibility.  You step up and take it. It’s not something that you have to fight for — usually there are few people willing to shoulder responsibility.  A person with proven responsibility will always be in demand.  When you have a reputation for confronting challenges rather than running away, for getting things done rather than making excuses, unbelievable opportunities open up for you.  Responsibility does not depend on your job title.  It depends on your willingness to make a difference.

“Responsibility is stepping forward, raising your hand, and saying ‘I did that.’ Sometimes you have made the right decision, but you have to be prepared for it to be the wrong one too. We are in a society where people aren’t accountable and responsible for the decisions they make.” – Allison Goetzinger


  1. Make a list of all the things that are keeping you from being successful in each area of your life
  2. Go to each one of these lists and write your own name at the top of each list.  Why?  Because you are the reason your life is the way it is.  Nothing else you have written down matters.  Your thoughts, your words and your actions created the life you are living.  Stop making excuses and face that reality! There are people who face much bigger challenges than you do and they have still figured out how to be successful.  So get your excuses and even your ‘legitimate reasons’ out of the way and face the facts: YOU are your problem.  The reality is that we all have pretty much the same list we are working with.  Some folks can take the list and get rich and some will take the list and go broke.  Don’t blame the list; it’s not the list’s fault.
  3. Go to the mirror, look yourself in the eye and have a little heart-to-heart with yourself.  Say these words: “My thoughts, my words and my actions have created the life I am living.  I take complete responsibility for everything going on in my life.  I will stop blaming.  I will stop making excuses.  I am in charge of my life and I am taking control of my results from this moment on!”
  4. Repeat this affirmation daily until it is ingrained in your psyche.  Yes, daily.  It works.
  5. Remember this line:  Affirmation without implementation is self-delusion.

 Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses. ~ Mitt Romney

Lead The Way!