Years ago, I was consulting to a company with a 100 year history of monopoly power. Monopoly makes efficiency a low priority. It also spawns a culture of entitlement. There were layers of bureaucracy and little incentive for people to cooperate. To create a basis for team work, cooperation and performance improvement, we had to find a way to create some expectations for self responsibility among team members. In a workshop, we appealed to people sense of honor and challenged them with the following agreement.
I agree to be responsible for generating my own satisfaction in my employment with my company rather than holding my company responsible for providing my satisfaction.
I agree not to gossip, gripe or complain.
I agree to resolve any upsetting circumstances around me. I will either eliminate the source of the upset or will not get upset.
I agree to make only those commitments that I am willing and intend to keep.
I agree to communicate any potential broken commitments at the first appropriate time and make new commitments at the earliest opportunity.
I agree to maintain alertness and to be enthusiastic in my approach to work.
I agree to communicate any problem that I have with my company only to someone who has the authority to do something about it; and further, to convey that problem in a way that allows for its resolution.
I agree to support others in keeping their commitments and to allow others to support me in keeping my commitments.
Each team member was asked to read and sign the document as a statement of commitment to create a team culture based on radical self-responsibility. The dialogue required to reach consensus that these agreements were possible, practical and valuable was a transformational in itself.
I rediscovered this 15 year old document the other day and wondered how it stands up over time. What do you think? Could you see introducing your team to idea of radical self-responsibility and asking each team member to pledge this commitment?