To blame is to choose to remain the same.”
Andy Stanley

I ran across this quote recently, and it struck me as very pertinent to the issues we’re confronting right now.  No doubt you have a great many things which frustrate you, which are holding you back from your vision for where you could be.

If only X wasn’t in the way.

Here’s the thing:  Blaming something external to yourself is an action that YOU’RE taking, in which you’re ceding control to something or someone else.  Because you’re giving up responsibility for your actions, it’s the easiest way that you’re choosing to take no action at all.

And because you’re taking no action, the most likely outcome is that future results will be the same as what you’ve had in the past.

I’m not saying that there’s no value in understanding the external causes of a situation. If you don’t look at those, you have no depth of understanding.  Yes, you need to know how government affects your business.  You need to understand what’s changing in the market.  You need to know what results shareholders are looking for.

But after you understand that, you can either choose to let those forces dictate your actions, or to think things through and try to make the most intelligent balanced choice possible.  Sometimes the result will be the same, but often you’ll be able to create a more reasoned response.

Here’s a great example which has recently come up in several conversations:  The Affordable Care Act has changed the groundrules for how employers provide health care insurance for employees.  Some business owners I’ve talked to have just given up, declaring that the government has now made health insurance unaffordable, and that their response is to just comply to the minimum extent possible.  When employees complain, the answer is that “the government made us do it.”

That’s not true.  The new laws just changed the groundrules.  You still have the choice of how you respond to that.

I’ve talked to a few business owners who have used this as an opportunity to rethink the concept of health insurance as a means of improving their employee loyalty.  One person started up an insurance program, even though it’s not required for him.  Another has restructured the way the company supports employee choice by providing a very decent stipend.

Which is the best answer?  I have no idea; I’m no expert.  All I know is that some people are choosing to look at the current situation, and make the best decision they know how.

They’re taking responsibility for their actions.