Taking Responsibility

I have recently returned from another great experience with the 2011 Best Ranger Competition.  This was my tenth year in helping with the event, working with the National Ranger Association and working in a close relationship with the Ranger Training Brigade.  The time spent allowed me continued opportunity to develop relationships, make new friends and continue my learning and development.  

Most people that know me are aware that I concentrate a great deal on the art of leadership.  I enjoy the privilege of engaging nonprofit professionals and discussing the concepts and theories of leadership on a regular basis.  Up to this point I have internalized the values and lessons I have learned through my RANGER family in regard to leadership.  However, I now seem to have much more clarity in how to bridge the gap between the similarities of effective leadership as practiced by RANGERS, on and off the field of battle, and general for profit and nonprofit leaders. 

For me, I understand that the most powerful way to develop a skill and/or habit is by associating with people that have that skill and/or habit.  Therefore, making my choice to associate with the RANGER community all the more apparent.  

I have enjoyed reading and dissecting the book No Excuse Leadership by Brace E. Barber. I am left with many concepts to ponder and use as a frame of reference.  However, the greatest gift this book gave me was the simple principle that we are each able to achieve more if we are willing to adjust our frame of reference. This principle is a foundational element to RANGER school and one of the reasons why they call it the best leadership school in the military.  

Anyone else taking a minute to think about that statement?  I have spent months thinking about it and honestly the thought process is changing my life.

First, the knowledge that we are in constant competition is useful information that can help change our perspective, frame of reference, and give us a competitive advantage.  If you are one of those that does not agree we are constantly in competition let me share some examples that may prove otherwise:

- Ever drive down the road and become fixated on the car next to you.  Beating it to the next light, making sure it does not have the space to cut in front of you, or simply to see if you can outsmart the other driver? Oh, maybe that is just me.

- What about the competition for customers or the competition for funding within the nonprofit arena?

- Ever rate all the Super Bowl ads to pick which one you like the most?  I am sure the advertisers would love that information.

- Sibling rivalry?

- Family game night? Maybe not everyone's household is as competitive as mine, but I am willing to bet there is a sense of competition within your household. 

Anyway, my point is that we live in a very competitive society.  So, why would we not want to seek a competitive advantage?

One of the first and most prominent principles as illustrated in Barber's No Excuse Leadership is: Seek responsibility and take it for your actions.

I will let that one sit with you for a moment....

It is amazing to me what happens when I take the proverbial five minutes to sit and think about things.  I have always been good, better than average, at taking responsibility for my behaviors and/or actions.  However, I also know that my thoughts are constantly consumed with rationalizations.  

"I didn't make that deadline because my colleague did not get his/her part to me in time to complete the activity." 

Most folks are willing to take the above excuse.  However, it does not solve the fact the activity was late and that its tardiness has consequences.  

So, what is the point?  The art of creating solutions permeates effective leadership. Hence Barber's No Excuse Leadership, and the first step is to seek responsibility and take it for your actions. 

Therefore, I exercise my option to associate with the RANGER community and other like minded individuals that tend to emulate and practice the art of seeking responsibility and taking it for their actions. I will continue to work on my rationalizations.  Will you?