Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm Not Responsible for This!

I have been hard at work on a consulting job with a company that is larger than my usual client. They still meet the criteria for a small business but they are big enough to have more of a corporate feel in their offices.

One word I have heard over and over again in their offices is “responsibility”. As in “Don’t worry, you’re not responsible for that.” And, “I’ll take responsibility for that.” And, “These are your areas of responsibility.”

As the owner of a small business, the whole “Responsibility Thing” really cracks me up. Imagine only being “responsible” for bits and pieces of your business:

“I’m only responsible for marketing.”
“I’m only responsible for production.”
“I’m only responsible for accounting.”

Ah, how much easier life would be. I could sit back and say, “Someone should do something about…”

I wonder if when someone is asked to handle something outside of their usual “responsibility” core, how uncomfortable that must be. The thought of being “responsible” for everything could easily overwhelm many people. Corporations are good at providing a snug cocoon for employees keeping them comfortable and safe from having too much responsibility.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is that being self employed means we’re responsible for every aspect of the business regardless of our comfort level. We have to constantly learn new skills and continuously improve how we do what we do. It’s a “responsibility” none of us can take lightly. There is simply too much on the line. And that mantle of responsibility can rest pretty heavy on the shoulders much of the time.

But when all is said and done, at the end of the day, I would still rather be the captain of a row boat than only be “responsible” for one oar on a slave galley.

Until next time,

Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.