Like the rest of us, you probably hate to be blamed. For anything. If something goes wrong, you’re thinking “I didn’t do that!” That’s normal. But what’s easy to miss when there’s trouble is that it’s often best when it is your fault.
Whether it’s in your website design or making Christmas dinner, being at fault for big failures is of course no fun. Investors have nothing nice to say. Your kids pretend they don’t know you. For Sale signs appear on your neighbors’ lawn. Or yours. But if you really want to fix your problems rather than just avoid some blame, there’s nothing better than knowing that you’re the one at fault, because then you can figure out precisely what went wrong, and can better make the changes you need.
Let’s face some facts:
- If it’s not your fault that your competitors have more money to build a better website than yours, then you can try to figure out ways to compete, but you’re still competing against companies with more money than you.
- If it’s not your fault that you’re in business with a partner who messed things up, then you can encourage change or point out the issues or criticize or threaten to end the partnership, but you’ll be challenged to actually directly change that person’s way of doing things, until he or she decides to change.
- If it’s not your fault that a key supplier started producing a weaker product but the change was not immediately obvious, then you and your customers will suffer the unhappy results, and while you can eventually get things fixed, there’s sadly very little you can do to prevent it from happening again.
- If it’s not your fault that your competitors are better at social media or SEO than you are, then you may just be accepting the fact that they’re doing things you can’t, or resigning yourself to an online presence that does not match theirs.
These are all challenges that stem from what someone else is doing. They’re not your fault, so you can feel good about that. On the other hand, they’re not easy for you to change. So why feel good?
Wouldn’t things be better if your problems really were your fault?
- Your competitors have more money and a better website than you, but you know your decisions along the way helped let it happen. You didn’t invest as much in a skilled website designer, put the same level of strategy into it, or grow your business as well as they did. And now that you recognize that, you can analyze and learn from their successes as well as your own, to really grow your business.
- You’re in business with a partner who is consistently messing things up, and you can now ask why. Are you not communicating well? Did you simply make a bad decision when you started working together? How did you get here? Or is it possible that their “bad” decisions are not actually the source of your trouble, but are simply the thing you’ve been blaming instead of facing the quality of your own decisions? What do you need to do to take control of the problem and get things back on track?
- A key supplier starts producing a weaker product? Aren’t your supplier contracts worded well enough to prevent that? Are your quality control standards sufficient? Are you really working with the suppliers that you should be? Now is the time you can tighten controls or find new suppliers before problems occur.
- If your business could benefit from increased social media or SEO activity, what’s really keeping you from making it happen? Are there less valuable things taking up your time that you can shed? Can you find a social media or SEO consultant to help turn things around? Set some targets and start making things happen.
If you recognize a situation is your problem to fix rather than something beyond your control, you will suddenly start to see opportunities and solutions rather than barriers and obstacles. My Dad would sometimes say, “If we have a problem with everyone around us, maybe the problem is not everyone around us.” That makes sense to me. A lot of sense. The good news is if we truly believe this and start making changes in what we’re doing instead of wishing others would, it usually doesn’t take very long before we can actually see those changes making a difference.
Find a weak link in your marketing, even if it’s someone else’s fault. Now look at it as if it were your fault and the solution were within your grasp. You’ll start seeing ways to make positive changes a whole lot more easily than you would have if you had left the blame on other people or outside events.
Your marketing sucks and it’s all your fault? Excellent. Because now it’s all your opportunity too.