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Who Is Responsible In A Virtual Company…

Author: Charlie Cook   |   December 5th, 2012

Ever have stuff fall through the cracks, meetings missed and follow through not there, or see fellow staff members make the same mistake over and over?

It happens all the time in virtual companies.

Why? The problem is each person sees themselves as operating in a silo, only responsible for the tasks on their list.

They forget to look at the bigger picture, that they are part of a team. So when they or someone else in the company makes a mistake, it gets ignored.

I had this happen just yesterday. I had scheduled an important meeting with another member of our staff and an outside vendor, but somehow forgot to dial in for the call.

So what did my fellow staff member do, who had the call on his calendar too?

Absolutely nothing.

He figured it was my stupid mistake, which it was, and he had no responsibility for helping me out. None. Zero.


Imagine if that was how professional football teams played. Now, I’ll admit I know next to nothing about football other than my father in-law played in college after World War II and was on an undefeated team at his college, and loved the sport.

But what I do know is this success tip: if one player has the ball, and for some reason fumbles it, the rest of the team doesn’t just walk away and ignore him. They jump all over it trying to cover for his mistake, to fix it.

Everyone on the team knows that their individual success is linked to the success of the team and depends on working together. They know they’re bound to make a mistake of their own, too, and they’re going to need help from the rest of the team also.

Good teams, football and business teams practice a simple concept called 100% responsibility. If they see something that needs to be done, they step in and do it, if it’s going to help the team.

How about you?

What could you be doing to practice 100% responsibility at your company to improve teamwork and help your company grow?

Here are a couple of tips to help you be more successful:

When you have a scheduled meeting and for some reason one of the other people forgets to dial in, remind them, and they’ll do the same for you.

If you get a promotion and pass on your projects/ clients to a new hire, check in with them to make sure they have all the information they need to succeed.

When you see a staff member struggling to get a response to their emails, help them out by showing them which email subject lines get a response.

If you’re new to the company or even a seasoned veteran, and for whatever reason don’t have all the information you need to complete a project. Don’t wait. Ask for help ASAP.

Speaking of waiting, if you’ve asked someone for information you need or to complete a task and it didn’t happen, yes, remind them.

And I’m sure there are hundreds more examples of ways to be more of a team player, to take responsibility for growing your company…

When I’ve explained this concept of 100% responsibility to people over the years I’ve had some tell me,

“Hey it’s not my job to babysit other people in the company. They should take responsibility for getting their own work done, not me.”

Which is true, but it ignores reality.

In a perfect world, everyone would do what they say they’re going to do. And they’d do it on time and do it exactly right… and the streets would be paved with gold, all marriages would be blissful, and teenage children would actually listen to their parents…


We’re human, and stuff happens. Even football players making millions a year fumble the ball and need support from their team.

Which is why the success of your company and your team depends on you and everyone else taking 100% responsibility.

Here’s how it can work at all levels.

My partner and I meet daily and when one of us forgets to dial in for our calls, the other calls or instant messages the other to make sure we get together.

As writer in chief at one of my companies, I’m responsible for reviewing all content and on occasion I forget to edit a particular piece for the newsletter or a needed email. What does our content manager do? She sends me regular emails and instant messages me to remind me of the deadlines.

And then there is the janitor in my building, I mean maintenance man who knows I like to use special filters in our HVAC system, so when I run out, he takes it upon himself to remind me to order them and then checks to make sure they’ve come in.

How about in your company, what does 100% responsibility mean for you?

Hit reply and send me two examples of how you could do an even better job of supporting your company and your team.

To your success,
P.S. The same applies to non-virtual companies too.

P.P.S. Ready to take responsibility for growing your company from one million to five million over the next few years? Email with your contact information.

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