“Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.” – Ashleigh Brilliant
We live in a world where people seem to avoid taking responsibility for as many things as possible (maybe the world has always been that way). No matter what goes wrong in somebody’s life, they’ll come up with an excuse or an explanation that absolves them of any responsibility at all. A big segment of the population should just wear shirts that say “It’s Not My Fault”.
Unfortunately, that sickness infects leaders as well. Poor service is the employees’ fault, poor quality product is the vendors’ fault, poor sales are the competitors’ fault, etc. Certainly there are things in life we can’t control, but for the most part our lives and businesses are the way they are because we’ve chosen for them to be that way. If you’re the leader, it’s your fault.
I say that to our clients and sometimes they get a sad look on their face and agree, but more often they say, “Maybe, but how can I take care of all these things?” It is true that we can’t do everything. There are things in your business that you personally may not be able to fix, and there are only 24 hours in a day. But that’s no excuse for just sitting there doing nothing.
For starters, surround yourself with people who can do some of the things you can’t. There might be problems in your business that you personally don’t know how to fix, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fixable. Know your strengths and abilities and find people to fill the gaps. They could be employees, or you could outsource something, but somebody somewhere can help. Find them, then let them.
What won’t you compromise? There are a lot of businesses out there that tolerate incredibly bad behavior from people in their organization. Then those businesses can’t figure out why they’re not successful. The reality is that as long as you have human beings in your organization, you’ll get less than perfect behavior, and you can’t police everybody every minute of the day. So what are your true core values that you won’t compromise? What behaviors absolutely will not be tolerated? You don’t have to draw a line in the sand for everything, but draw one for something.
Along those same lines, you have to understand what’s most important, then spend your time on that. What in your business is absolutely critical? What defines who you are as a business? Why do you exist? If you can answer those questions you can prioritize where you spend your time and significantly increase your impact.
The point is that if you don’t like where you are, make a change. Don’t use the excuse that you can’t do everything. Do something. You’re the leader, so start getting things done.