Conscious Leadership

with Diana Chapman

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Taking 100% responsibility

Diana Chapman

Master Trainer, Conscious Leader, Co-founder, Author

Lessons Learned

Radical responsibility is looking at the ways in which you have co-created your circumstances.

Responsibility means recognizing that life is happening by you, not to you.

Leaders frequently take more than 100% responsibility, creating massive burnout.


Lesson: Conscious Leadership Diana Chapman

Step #5 Co-Creation: Taking 100% responsibility

What we mean by responsibility is different than how we think a lot of people look at it as more like accountability. We're not talking about being accountable. What we're talking about is to be responsible means to recognize that I am in a co-creative process with other people co-creating something. If we create some results, if I'm responsible, really 100% responsible, and I've got some results here that I said I didn't want, but yet here they are, from a place of 100% responsibility, I'm still going to ask, "How did I co-create that?"

So one of the things I do with teams is I say, "What's a result that you're all having right now that you say that you didn't want?" And they'll give me an example. Let's say it would be, "We're not selling our product as quickly as we thought we would. We didn't want that, but yet here it is." I said, "Okay, great. Let's assume that there's another team right behind you. They are going to create their product that's very similar to yours and they want to have the same experience you have of not having that product sell as quickly as they want it to. If you could have a recipe that you would have them follow that's exactly the recipe you've been following to create your results, what would you tell them that recipe is?" I would have them start to write it down and they start to immediately go, "Oh, put the product out faster than it was really ready to go so that it had some glitches and lost some product share early on. Have some in-fighting between development and sales that creates some slower communication." They could start to go "These are the things that we've all done that have co-created this experience so everybody takes responsibility."

Another way you could look at responsibility is when the spill happened in the Gulf with the oil, one of the things, if we wanted to, is we could all say, "How am I responsible for co-creating that spill?" A lot of people would say, "I wasn't there and I'm not a part of that company, and that has nothing to do with me." But if you look again, you'll say, "Ah, I have something to do with the fact that my lifestyle may continue to support drilling for oil. I may not be going and pushing back with our political folks on legislating new kinds of renewable energy. Perhaps I'm speeding and recognizing that I'm asking for more gas in each moment." So if I look I can say, "I had something to do with co-creating that."

Also, they supposedly knew there was an issue and they didn't handle it, so I might go, "Where are there things that I know are issues in my life that I'm not handling?" If I want them to handle things, I can first come over here and say, "I have some responsibility in handling my stuff first before I ask anybody else to handle it."

Radical responsibility is taking a look at how am I co-creating everything around me, and that I always have something to learn, that I'm never just at the effect of and life is just happening to me." It's a radical shift for most people. It's not the way most people live their lives.

So 100% responsibility means 100%, no more, no less. For example, in this room right now there are four of us who are co-creating an experience, who will co-create this content and maybe some other people will be involved as well in the editing process and the promotion of it. We'll all co-create an experience here.

None of us is any more or less responsible. The interviewer is no more responsible for this going well than the one who's being interviewed, or the people who are witnessing could also speak up if they don't think this is going well. They could say, "Hey, I think something could change here. We're all co-creating an experience." When we recognize that everybody is equally responsible, it changes the way we show up and interact with one another.

I work a lot with CEOs and presidents who get really burned out because they're taking way more than their 100% responsibility. Let's say there are 40 people in a company. We would say there's 4000 points, 40 100%, 4000% co-creating an experience. Everybody is just 100%. What happens is lot of people at the top start grabbing onto other people's responsibility and feeling uber-responsible for getting the results. What happens is that creates burnout and it creates victims below you. So we say, "What is it like to lead where you only stay at just 100, not a drop below, not any extra, just at 100?" It's a practice to really learn what that's like to feel just 100% and ask others to do the same.

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