Friday, November 14, 2014

Mom Talk #27: Take Responsibility

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for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{

Dearest Children of Mine,

You may be thinking you got off easy with only 26 posts in this 31 Days Blog Series.  But wait!  There's more!!  There are actually 31 entries for the Mom Talks series, I'm just going to need some of November to get them all in.  Because you know ... when it comes to Mom Talks, I have LOTS to say :o)

In the last post I gave you some tips for arriving on time.  Today, I'll tell you about my most embarrassing professional life moment that still makes me cringe, and the lesson I learned from it.  It has to do with cookies, responsibility, and what happens if you don't take it.

Before I quit my corporate job to be a stay at home, homeschooling Mom, I had a fabulous opportunity to work on a special project for our Vice President on a series of first ever Team Meetings for our department.  It was an opportunity for exposure that I probably wasn't quite ready for, and I certainly didn't grasp its potential.  But it afforded me some pretty slick experiences, all of which were good, with one exception that is forever immortalized in  my mind as The Cookie Incident.

Among other things on this Team Meeting project, I was responsible for ordering and organizing the post-meeting refreshments.  Well before the first kick off meeting at corporate headquarters, I placed an order with the corporate kitchen and confirmed the order should be delivered to the top floor executive meeting room.  Two weeks before the meeting, I followed up with my contact to make sure everything was in order.  Finally, the day of the meeting arrived, and about 20 minutes before the meeting concluded, I slipped out to make sure the refreshments had arrived ... only to find no refreshments ... anywhere. 

I was mortified.

I rushed downstairs to the cafeteria, which I found closed up tighter than a bank vault.  I pounded on the door to no avail, then raced to my office to call the kitchen manager on the phone.  Maybe the staff was just busy putting the finishing touches on the cookie trays and couldn't answer the door?  Alas, no answer on the phone, either.  

I went back to the meeting, wholly terrified.  I knew I should make an announcement that there would be no refreshments, but thinking about standing up in front of a hundred of my colleagues to say, of all things, "There will be no cookies" had me completely paralyzed.  It was such a stupid situation.  I desperately tried to send my boss telepathic messages across the room, hoping he would somehow bail me out, but my powers of telepathy were as efficient as my powers of getting cookies delivered that day.  The meeting ended, and a hundred people wandered around in the foyer, only to conclude that there were no cookies to be found.  

Afterward, I apologized and explained to my boss and the Vice President that I had placed the order but the cookies and drinks hadn't been delivered.  The Vice President wasn't particularly chatty and didn't say much, but it was her meeting and it made her look bad that promised refreshments hadn't been delivered.  Although no one ever mentioned the incident again, I'm sure no matter how well I performed in my job thereafter, to this Vice President, and possibly more people than I'm willing to imagine, I was:

The Girl Who Didn't Bring the Cookies.  


How I wish I had confirmed the order with the kitchen staff the day before the meeting.  But my greatest regret is that I didn't take the opportunity to transform a bad situation into a chance to shine by taking responsibility for it.  

Accepting responsibility is always the better choice.  Here are three reasons why:

When you take responsibility, you gain authority

Accepting responsibility shows your understanding of a situation, demonstrates your grasp of its implications, and displays your capabilities.  Results build credibility, and the person who takes action or addresses an issue has the authority.  It's always the person getting things done that people listen to.  When you take responsibility, you are a leader, and that gives you authority.

When you take responsibility, people give you a break

Particularly when you've made a mistake, taking responsibility moves you on and helps everyone else let it go.  If you've made a mistake, whoever is in authority over you is responsible to make sure you don't make the same mistake again.  When they trust that you understand the situation and have learned what you need to learn, they'll know you don't need further correction.  [Hint:  file this one under How to Get Mom to Stop Talking next time you're called on the carpet for something.  You will be amazed at how well it works.]

When you take responsibility, you distinguish yourself

We've all been there at one time or another, and everyone knows that when you've made a mistake, it takes guts to shoulder the responsibility.  It takes strong character to own up to a mistake, but the reward is that when you do, people remember you were tough enough not only to admit something went wrong, but to own it.  This isn't necessarily a rare occurrence, but it's gutsy enough to get you noticed every single time.

Because it gives you power to act on your situation and make things better, taking responsibility is always the better way.  When you do, you gain authority, move the focus to the next step, and distinguish yourself as a person of strong character. Always ... the better way.  

We have four more Mom Talks to go!  Next we'll talk about the importance of who you work for.

There will be no cookies.  

for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{
thanks for reading!

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. I couldn't agree more! Great tips for kids!!