Accepting responsibility versus blaming irresponsibility

Responsibility is everywhere. The term became commonly used in the early 19th century and has skyrocketed in its usage and interpretations since. Mowing the lawn is your responsibility. The janitor has many responsibilities. The terrorist group has claimed responsibility. So what is all this responsibility about? As a credit card processing company, we have a responsibility to our clients and the clients of our clients. We are responsible to ensure the data is secure and the funds are transferred in a safe and timely manner. We are responsible to ensure all our clients needs are met, whether they need e-commerce or POS systems. Gravity Payments has a lot of responsibility, but what does that word matter? Does saying we have responsibility do anything?

It doesn’t matter how the word responsibility operates. Well, maybe it matters to some. But, it all comes down to how you accept responsibility. For example, during the final championship game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Lakers were behind by one point and needed to make a foul. Knowing Bill Russell was the worst free throw shooter on the court, they decided to foul him.

If Russell missed the shot, the Lakers would get the ball back and still have time to try to win the game. If he made one shot, their chances of winning decreased significantly. If he made both shots, the game would be over. As soon as Russell was fouled, he knew his team was going to win the game.

Why was he so confident?

As he explains it, in that moment, he took responsibility for the success or failure of his team. He put all the pressure on him without any possibility for excuses. He knew if he missed those shots, there was nobody to blame but himself. That’s exactly what he wanted.

You know what happened next? He made both those shots.

Earlier this year, news broke about Wells Fargo’s massive fraud scandal where employees created two million fake checking accounts and over 600,000 fake credit cards. Instead of those at the top taking responsibility, everyone in the corporation shifted blame to…anyone else. The CEO and other executives blamed the sales staff for creating the fraudulent accounts. The sales teams blamed the executives for forcing unattainable sales quotas. Some blamed the customers for not noticing changes in their banking profile and others blamed the system itself. No one stood up and said, “It was me. I did it.” Because no one took personal responsibility, the reputation of Wells Fargo plummeted and everyone suffered. Read more about the Wells Fargo scandal.

The only real difference between Gravity Payments and other companies in our industry is how we work hard to accept responsibility. Though we make mistakes, we have made proactive efforts to ensure we are empowered to accept responsibility. We have no hierarchy; you cannot pass the buck. Everyone is the CEO of their own work and their own lives. Gravity clients are our clients. We accept personal responsibility for our clients and how a small business credit card processing company should work. It’s this mentality that drives us to achieve the best results every day. If we did not have this imbued sense of responsibility, we’d easily be able to evade the feeling of failure that’s akin with irresponsibility. If you want a credit card processing company that will accept responsibility for your business, sign up with us.

And there it is. Acceptance. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about personal responsibility, or your civil responsibility to vote or attend jury duty. It doesn’t matter if we are talking corporate social responsibility to care for the environment or the people they employ and it doesn’t matter if it’s our moral responsibility to do what society has deemed right. What matters is the individuals in the driver’s seat accept that responsibility.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln


Categories: Be Your Own CEO, Management + Culture