By: James Robilotta

“Ha! I told ya so!”

“I knew that was going to happen.”

“People never listen to me around here.”

“That was so-and-so’s job.”

“I was waiting for XYZ to happen first.”


Ever heard any of these phrases before? Ever said any of these phrases before, out loud or in your head? The answer is “yes” to both of those. So with that out in the open, let me ask you this: When does something become your responsibility?

We have become so good at passing the buck and making excuses for why things don’t get done. Believe me, I know this firsthand because I am an idea person. You want an innovative way to approach a problem? I got you. You expect me to follow it through to the end and then assess it, too? Whoa there cowgirl, I’m already onto my next idea but you’re welcome for that one!

That’s my unacceptable excuse, what is yours? Are you lazy? Are you trying to fly under the radar therefore you just do what’s required of you and nothing more? Did you forget to delegate? Did you neglect to tell whoever asked you for help that you do not actually have the time? Is it not a priority for you? Are you bitter or resentful? Are you afraid of letting people down so much that you spend most of your time apologizing? Are you a member of the “Whoa is me” club? Are you disorganized? Or do you just not care?

I once had a supervisor who had the best hindsight. If the Air Force factored in hindsight to their pilot vision testing, she would have graduated at the top of her class. It was super frustrating to work with her. After any event the department put on she would be right there at the next staff meeting telling us all of the things we should have done and made us feel pretty stupid. Most of the time she knew about the events ahead of time and could have easily offered her input before, but rarely, if ever, opted to do so.

No matter what your unacceptable excuse is, it’s time to own it. We are all part of the “Tired and Busy Club”. Don’t believe me? The last time someone asked you how you are, did you respond with, “Good, but busy” or “Tired”? Welcome to the club. Don’t worry, it’s the largest club worldwide, there’s just no leadership because no one has the time. The bottom line is that we get in our own way and we prioritize poorly.

I most certainly do it! If I prioritized my time better I would: work out, write a rap album, promote myself to corporate audiences, write and film more sketches, do more leisure travel with my wife, not be afraid to have children, and maybe even write a new Robo Thought blog post more than once every other week!

So when does something become our responsibility? Now. It’s time for all of us to step up. If you’re a part of an organization and/or a department that you care about, than everything from the paperwork to the critical feedback to the celebrations is your responsibility. If you don’t care, then leave, job search, resign. Our organizations don’t need people with great hindsight, who think it’s other people’s jobs to make us great, and who do not make us a priority. We need people to be proactive, to provide feedback at the appropriate time and place, and fill in the gaps they see. We need people to take responsibility.

Learn more about James Robilotta and his keynotes at at You can also follow him on Twitter at @JamesTRobo.