Fundamental of the Week #13: Find a Way

Respond to every situation by looking for how we can do it, rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Take personal responsibility. Be innovative, assertive, and take initiative.

For some reason Mount Rushmore has been on my mind lately. In the spirit of this week’s Fundamental, I wonder what the reception was like when Doane Robinson came up with the idea to carve massive faces of historical people on a South Dakota mountain side to spur tourism? “Hey, I’ve got a great idea, let’s carve a bunch of…” I don’t know but I bet it wasn’t a slam-dunk. The important thing is it got done. And is probably so much greater than anyone imagined at the time. It took years to accomplish this goal, but they found a way and what a magnificent contribution to this country.

“Find a Way” is the determination to get something produced verses just simply staying busy. Within organizations, people often confuse staying busy with being productive. Getting it done is not about effort, it’s about the determination to produce something promised, something of value. In our work, we talk a lot about ownership-accountability versus victimization.

Ownership-accountability is a matter of approaching life from owning the outcome. I either got it done or I didn’t, period. Of course, there will be explanations why it didn’t get done, but the minute I start blaming others or circumstances I abdicate any power I have in the matter. That’s not to say there aren’t explanations or reasons for things falling short; there is just no power in the explanations and reasons. However, if I am holding myself accountable for the outcome, regardless, then I have a broad window from which to learn and expand. I think it’s legitimate to say I can only be in one of two places at any time in my life. I’m being accountable for an outcome or I’m being a victim of why it didn’t happen. Neither is good or bad, right or wrong. I just get different results. And like pretty much everything else in life, it’s a choice.

Doane Robinson made a choice to bring a National Icon to South Dakota in the face of massive logistical issues (i.e. over 400,000 tons of rock moved.) And he got it done! You, I, and America are richer for it.

Craig Clark
Founder and CEO,
Momentum Consulting, Inc