How many times have you heard “It’s not my problem” or “It’s not my job” when a problem arises or someone needs help? In my experience the incidence of this happening increases exponentially with the size of the firm.
This usually points to a lack of unity and shared vision where individuals are more concerned with their own success that they fail to see that it is so often inextricably tied to the success of others in their team, other teams and the inherent success of the company.
There can be many reasons for such a response to a cry for help. The reasons range from personal defensiveness, an unwillingness to take on risk or a simple desire to avoid additional work. Whatever their reason it is an unacceptable response and a sign of the team culture breaking down. It is imperative that you help them reach an understanding that their success is dependent on the success of others – “If you are successful then I am successful.” Often this requires both cultural change and an updated or new vision for the company.
A poem about responsibility
There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done,
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognised that anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.
But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.
When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.
Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end Nobody did
What Anybody could have.
Are your team members willing to help whatever the cost?
Do you see signs of cultural breakdown or does every member of your team take responsibility?
Do you have Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody working for you?