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Practical #productivity 2: What can YOU do? Take responsibility.

“Fix the problem – not the blame”





Are you guilty of this? I know I am.

If something is someone else’s fault – you think you are in the “clear” – it’s not your fault – it’s not your problem to solve. Someone else is to blame!

You take no action – the problem doesn’t get solved OR there is a long delay in getting action.


My wife (a former Radio News Director)  taught me a valuable lesson in my private life – and it’s something I use in my business life too.


Quick set-up:

I’m in the city for an early-morning, important business meeting. As I collect my computer from the back seat of the car, I notice my son’s school shoes are still in the back of the car. Uh-oh!

Then I rationalise – it’s HIS fault – not mine. Not my problem. I am absolved of blame!

In this case – and in many cases – my wife’s response is: “Take responsibility!”

And she’s right. Even if technically it’s not my fault, I can take responsibility and think:

What CAN I do to stop this happening in the future.

So now, I have a ritual – every evening I do a quick check of the car to see  if my son has left anything behind.

I also encourage him to bring in his shoes and school bag etc – but the quick check is something I can control. Something I have the ability to respond to. I take responsibility.

O.K. – nice fuzzy story. How can we apply it to serious business?

We can all apply the same principle to our work lives.

Now, when my normal reaction would have been: It’s their fault. They haven’t got back to me OR they are late  in getting me the materials 


What can I do to make this happen?

What ability do I have to respond to this situation to help make it happen?


Now there will be times when YOU can’t do anything – but I encourage you to change your thinking so your first response is:

how can you take responsibility.



I often think of a great line from an old 90’s Sean Connery movie (Rising Sun) where he advises:


Fix the problem – not the blame! 

Of course, he says it in a more colourful (lots of F-bombs) way!

So I encourage you – to be more productive in getting things done faster and more efficiently in your business life – think how you can:

1. take responsibility – even if it’s not your fault

2. fix the problem – not the blame

3. help create a business culture where people are encouraged to take responsibility and fix the problem – not the blame!


Here’s a link to other practical productivity tips:





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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.



Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.




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