When things go wrong or spin out of control, many of us fall into the trap of playing the blame game!
Scripture calls us to have conversation with that gal in the mirror to do a fierce moral inventory of our role in every situation. I can honestly tell you from personal experience, when we find ourselves in a mess, it is always best to name it and claim it!
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
During my days as a television station sales manager, I had a head on collision with responsibility. It was ugly. It was painful. And the blessing was disguised as a really angry client!
One Friday afternoon, one of my account executives got an order for an advertising agency’s new fast food restaurant client. She had been working hard to get the order and it was a big one. But instead of doing the needed paperwork right then, she put it aside to do it the following Monday and went to celebrate her success with her friends.
You already know where this is going don’t you?
About the middle of the following month, the agency called to ask about the invoice for their new client. The problem? There was no invoice. Not one of their commercials aired because the order was never written!
That mistake cost my station $40,000. Worse yet, the restaurant lost an untold amount of anticipated revenue and the advertising agency lost their commission. The salesperson’s reputation was damaged and she lost her commission on an order she’d worked on for weeks.
The ripple effect of that $40,000 error was hard to fathom!
As soon as I could wrap my brain around the disastrous situation, I got in my car and drove to the advertising agency knowing full well I was walking into a buzz saw.
I told the receptionist I didn’t have an appointment but asked to see the Director of the media department. I had never had the pleasure of meeting the man, (I’ll call him Mr. S) because people in his position typically met with my boss, or my boss’ boss…if you get my drift.
I waited in the lobby for what seemed to be an eternity.
No doubt he was taking his time sharpening his tongue to give me a lashing I wouldn’t soon forget.
Mr. S came through the big double doors and without saying a word, sat down at a small table. I walked over and joined him. Here’s how the conversation went…
Mr. S: “What do you want?”
Me: “Mr. S, I just became aware of the huge mistake we made. If you feel the need to take someone’s head off, I wanted to give you the opportunity to do that in person. That’s why I’m here.”
Mr. S: “So you’re not here to apologize? You came so I could rip you open?”
Me: “Of course I am sorry and you certainly deserve an apology, but I really just came so you could say what you needed to say to me personally rather than on the phone.”
Mr. S: “Do you realize how badly your station screwed up?”
Me: “Yes sir, I do.”
Mr. S: “This is a new client. This kind of mistake could cost us the account.”
Me: “I realize that, sir. And I would completely understand if you never wanted to do business with us again.”
Mr. S: “What are you going to do to make sure this sort of thing never happens again?”
Me: “I will assign your agency to a more senior salesperson and put specific policies and procedures in place as to how your business will be handled in the future. And I will monitor it personally.”
Mr. S: “This can never happen again. Do you understand that?”
Me: “Yes sir, I certainly do. I’m terribly sorry.”
Mr. S: “Thank you for having the courage to come here.”
With that, Mr. S shook my hand and walked back through the double doors.
Because of my willingness to take responsibility, Mr. S and I formed a bond of trust. And not only did we keep his company’s business, we got even more! The moral of the story is to take responsibility for your role in any situation.
When we start talking about who is to blame, that’s when the finger-pointing starts. The drama ramps up, the back stabbing and gossiping begins. We become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
If you have played a role, any role, in a sticky situation that needs fixing…Step Up!
The moment we take full responsibility for everything we say, everything we do, and everything we believe, our lives change for the better.
Let’s all have an honest talk with the girl in the mirror. Let’s be bold in our willingness to fix what needs to be fixed. Even if you weren’t the one to mess it up in the first place.
God will bless and shower us with countless mercies
when we step up, name it and claim it.