The Sunday Mail
To move forward and achieve greatness, there is no easy way out, no free bus ride, no blaming and no shifting of responsibility. Just take “extreme ownership!”
You are where you are because of you. Face it square and clear. No finger pointing or blame shifting. Excuses will not cut it. Excuses will not mend it. Blame will not move it. Waiting for someone else to act will not do. If you do not take action, nothing will happen.
If you do not decide, no decision will be taken. If you do not reach out, the stalemate continues. If you look the other way, the situation will keep staring at you. Face the brutal facts, stand in the ring and take the full weight of the issue and the moment. When you take extreme ownership you assume total responsibility for whatever happens in your world. Leadership starts where extreme ownership begins and the blame pelting ends.
When you take extreme ownership, progress begins and you move forward. You feel powerful, capable and inspired. It is always a sigh of relief when someone takes extreme ownership and assumes responsibility. Taking full responsibility and assuming extreme ownership is not weakness or cowardice.
It is shifting endless blame that is madness. If you do not take extreme ownership you will remain stuck in your tracks, blaming everyone in sight and thinking that blame is useful work. Whatever you blame you empower. When you blame you stink. Whoever you blame, you empower to cause you needless misery.
When you blame you are stuck. In feats of blame, your friends may understand you, but the real mission will never understand you. Your ego will be massaged, but posterity will not forgive you for losing your bearings. Your corner may applaud you but no progress will be on the charts and strategic direction is lost. When you choose a different path, you go in a different direction and gain new momentum. Extreme ownership is the way of the true champion and strategic player who knows the value of the future and what matters most.
Whatever happens, choose to take full and total responsibility. When you say, “It is me, I am accountable, I take full responsibility”, you grow. When you say the opposite you go. Extreme ownership means no blame shifting, no excuses, no alibis, no nonsense, and no time wasting. This game of blame, making excuses and thinking like a victim, looking for the world to feel pity for you and explaining your circumstances has been overplayed, there is no need for that song to get a new tune, re-arrangement or special rendition. It is no longer any genius to complain, murmur and mutter. The key to greatness is just that – take extreme ownership!
Excuses are not work
Manufacturing excuses, in whatever sophisticated manner, whatever their volume, is not useful or productive work. Quit the business of excuses, it is not bankable. Shifting blame is not innovation thinking. Pointing fingers is not figuring out strategic direction. Remaining stuck in the past is not deciphering emergent strategy. Taking the victim’s bench and holding up a list of the people that caused and are causing your misery is not design thinking. Articulating the unfairness of life is not an empathy canvas. Manufacturing excuses is mental abuse and a misapplication of brain power.
The start of any forward movement and motion is: swallow the bitter pill and take responsibility and swallow the blame and begin a new path. You are where you are because of you (you could read that as me!). Things are what they are because of you. Be willing to swallow your pride, face the blame and assume extreme ownership. It is when you feel the full weight of responsibility that your muscles start of move and the ground starts of give way to new growth and progress. When you know that if anything is to be it is up to you, then you can start to make things happen. Nothing happens while you stand still and do nothing. Just take extreme ownership and it makes all things new.
Put the ego where it belongs
Ego battles are self-destructive matches akin to boxing your own shadow. Ego battles are a punitive tax on potential and waste of valuable resources, time and energy. Put the ego where it belongs and things will really start moving. Ego battles are playing into the hangs of the enemy and misdirected fire power. Take responsibility and move the game to a higher, more strategic plane. As they say in sport, get the ball and not the person. You will not play long playing people instead of strategy.
Take responsibility to mend ailing relationships and manage outsized egos before they spoil the mission. The ego must take the back seat, while the mission takes the front seat. Too much energy is invested in fruitless ego battles that raise the dust, choke progress, throttle initiative, without moving the work or aiding the strategy. . Strategy is a battle to secure the future, take the high ground and not to inflate outside egos and misplaced pride. It is the pursuit of mission and strategic positioning that is real progress and not just locus of ego or placement of personal pride.
Take extreme ownership to restore strategic focus.
Taking extreme ownership is having a clear view of the battle you are fighting and the real prize in the fight. Energy is precious and should never be wasted in battles without progress or worthy prize. Opportunities are precious and should never be squandered bickering about things that do not move the main agenda forward. Let the main thing always remain the main thing to think about and do. Taking extreme ownership is knowing when to stand by your guns and when to back down. If standing by your guns sacrifices the mission, you are fighting a lost war.
Do what it takes
Taking extreme ownership is doing whatever it takes as though everything depends on you. Stop playing the waiting, complaining and blaming game. While you are waiting, time is moving, goals are shifting and the momentum is diminishing. While you are waiting, the whole world in not waiting for you to be conveniently ready. While you are waiting for perfect circumstances, the world is marching forward with its imperfections. Do what is take with what you have got. You do not afford to wait for what is not waiting for you.
Who is responsible?
Everybody is always thinking that somebody must do what everyone knows should be done. When everyone is responsible, no one is accountable and extreme ownership is glaringly missing.
You probably have come across a poem that is attributed to Charles Osgood, an American Radio Announcer born in the 1930s. Some people call it “The Responsibility Poem” but I prefer to call it the “Extreme Ownership Poem”.
Read it, re-read it and then send it to your friends. Unless someone takes extreme ownership, there will always be unfilled holes, things not done and needless waiting and idle excuses.
The Responsibility Poem” by Charles Osgood:
“There was a most important job that needed to be done, And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none. But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task? Anybody could have told you that Everybody knew
That this was something Somebody would surely have to do. Nobody was unwilling; Anybody had the ability. But Nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that Anybody could have done, If Anybody thought he was supposed to be the one. But since Everybody recognised that Anybody could, Everybody took for granted that Somebody would. But Nobody told Anybody that we are aware of, That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of. And Nobody took it on himself to follow through, And do what Everybody thought that Somebody would do.
When what Everybody needed so did not get done at all, Everybody was complaining that Somebody dropped the ball. Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame, And Everybody looked around for Somebody to blame. Somebody should have done the job And Everybody should have,But in the end Nobody did What Anybody could have.”
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and executive coach. His life purpose is to inspire greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634. His website is www.miltonkamwendo.com