IF I WAS asked to name one thing I am most concerned with in business today, it would take me half a second to reply: the lack of personal accountability that so many people have.
That may sound like a miniscule problem to most, but I think it's the greatest challenge facing businesses today. And I hope you're ready because there's a slim chance it's going to get any better.
I'm not going to make many friends writing about this topic. I'll probably get a lot of angry emails from people telling me to find something better to do. It's my hope that my position on this subject will cause some people to take a step back, self-reflect and make the necessary adjustments to help get their mentality back on track.
Here's the reality. There are too many people who have a sense of entitlement. For some strange reason, they feel they are owed something. They expect things to be handed to them. They have a warped mindset that dispels the notion that you will be rewarded for hard work, and they think that somehow, success is magically handed out to people. To be completely candid, it disgusts me.
From what I have experienced, a sense of entitlement breeds several other concerning behavior traits and characteristics. And a lack of personal accountability is one of them.
I had a former co-worker reach out to me this week complaining about his current job and asking me if I knew of any other opportunities that may be a good fit for him. This individual happens to be very talented, but is a classic example of someone who has a sense of entitlement. I asked him why he was unhappy in his current job, and he explained that he felt that his current company wasn't giving him the necessary training to be successful in his role.
As I began to dig deeper into what he meant, he explained that he felt like he was on his own and wasn't being given the needed industry and product training he needed to be effective. He had a perception that his company wasn't investing in his success and thought it was time for a change.
I asked him one simple question. "What have you done on your own to proactively get the knowledge you feel you are missing?" He was stumped by that question and became a bit agitated. I took his lack of action and ability to answer my question as a coaching opportunity.
I explained to him that he needs to change his mentality. I told him that he can't depend on anyone to give him anything, and that he needed to take personal ownership to get what he feels is missing. I explained that if he believes his company is failing to give him what he thinks he needs to be successful, he needs to figure it out on his own. Don't rely on anyone. Own the problem and do something about it.
While this may be an extreme example and a situation where it's easy to blame the company for their lack of professional development, it drives home the point of personal accountability.
There are two ways to look at the problem. You can blame the company or you can take ownership of the situation and figure out a way to solve it. This simple situation highlights the difference between people who have high levels of personal accountability and those who sit around making excuses and blame others for what's missing.
In my humble opinion, lack of personal accountability is one of the biggest problems plaguing businesses today. Too many people are trapped in a fantasy world where they expect everything to be handed to them and fail to recognize the simple philosophy that hard work, self-discipline and personal accountability will nearly guarantee your success in your personal and professional life.
Christopher Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes Closing the Deal weekly. He is the vice president of sales and services for leadership solutions at Skillsoft, a Nashua-based provider of learning solutions. Visit Skillsoft at www.skillsoft.com.