Total involvement and shared responsibility by everyone at every level is key to the success of any organization in today’s challenging world of change, competition, and survival.
The following Generational Gem illustrates the critical need for everyone to understand that all members of the organization have something to add and should strive to make certain that they each play their role.
My apologies if this story is well-known to you. It’s an old joke, yet a useful illustration for various themes. A mother repeatedly called upstairs for her son to get up, get dressed and get ready for school. It was a familiar routine, especially at exam time.
“I feel sick,” said the voice from the bedroom.
“You are not sick. Get up and get ready,” called the mother, walking up the stairs and hovering outside the bedroom door.
“I hate school, and I’m not going,” said the voice from the bedroom. “I’m always getting things wrong, making mistakes and getting told off. Nobody likes me, and I’ve got no friends. And we have too many tests, and they’re too confusing. It’s all just pointless, and I’m not going to school ever again.”
“I’m sorry, but you are going to school,” said the mother through the door, continuing encouragingly. “Really, mistakes are how we learn and develop. And please try not to take criticism so personally. And I can’t believe that nobody likes you—you have lots of friends at school. And yes, all those tests can be confusing, but we are all tested in many ways throughout our lives, so all of this experience at school is useful for life in general. Besides, you have to go, you’re the Principal.”
And so it is in the workplace as well. The President of the Board, the CEO, and Vice Presidents throughout the organization must “show up” ready to contribute as readily as every front-line employee on the payroll. The responsibility, successes, failures, and all resulting consequences must be shared by the entire organization. In today’s chaotic world, the presence or lack of shared responsibility can and will make a critical difference.