How to Own Decisions and Their Consequences
I had the privilege of speaking to the scholar athletes at Westside High School (WHS) last month. It’s been twenty six years since I attended WHS. Trying to share in fifteen minutes what I have learned since being a WHS scholar athlete was both humbling and terrifying. Reading my own bio in the event program was interesting. It highlighted all of the accomplishments I’d earned in high school, college and beyond. My bio made it seem like I had it all figured out. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t.
I shared my story of going to Indiana to play football. I was afraid to tell them I quit the team, but I did. I explained that I had to own my decision and the consequences that came after it. My parents couldn’t fix that for me. They also had to let me own my decision. As a parent, I’m often afraid that my children will not accept responsibility in their actions. In quitting the team, I had to own both my decision and its consequences in order to accept it.
As an entrepreneur, I love thinking we have an empowered workforce. What scares me is that they‘ll be empowered to make decisions, but not associate their actions with the consequences. My fear is that someone will screw up and then walk away–leaving the customer, company brand, or internal team damaged. It takes a leap of faith to trust what we train is going to happen all the time.
I recognize that, as a company, our job is to trust our people with the decision, but also verify that they’re held accountable for that decision, and recognize their actions in the process. As parents, Lisa and I do this with our kids, too. We tell them that we trust you, but we are going to verify that our Mission/Vision/Values are being upheld. It’s easier ‘said’ than ‘done.’ But if it was good enough for Ronald Reagan, it’s good enough for us. We are going to trust that process. You can verify that.