Minute #525: Who Is Responsible?

“After our last executive roundtable meeting, we were all in agreement that our idea-sharing session was so productive that we should make it a monthly routine. Let me welcome you to our second brainstorming session,” Mr. Gottlieb said.

The discussion was lively and creative, but after about 30 minutes Mr. Gottlieb interrupted his vice-president in charge of sales and asked, “Mr. Brander, wasn’t your suggestion made at our last meeting?”

“Yes, sir,” Mr. Brander replied. “I’m only bringing it up again since I felt it was a really good idea but it never got implemented.”

“You’re absolutely right!” Mr. Gottlieb exclaimed. “In fact, I believe the last three suggestions made here today were brought up at our last meeting and we’re still facing the same problems. Maybe we shouldn’t hold these meetings after all.”

“I don’t think that’s the answer, sir,” Mr. Goldwurm chimed in. “If we pinpoint the problem, we would see the solution very clearly.”

“Continue, please,” the boss said.

“We all made very practical suggestions that really would solve the problems they address. But we didn’t designate who would be responsible for implementation. Everyone left the table counting on another to get the job done,” Mr. Goldwurm explained.

Our Sages teach (Eruvin 3b): “A pot in the charge of two cooks is neither hot nor cold.” Each cook relies on the other to do the work, which, as a result, never gets done. When people work as a group it’s easy to fall prey to this misguided thinking. If you work together with others and develop a plan of action, finish the plan. Designate who is responsible to get it done.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

People get sick from bad middos (character traits) more than any other cause in life. Bad middos are known today to cause stresses and reactions of the body that are most unhealthy. Iveles adam tisalev darko — A man’s foolishness makes crooked his path in life, v’al Hashem yizaef libo — but his heart is angry at Hashem. He blames Hashem, but in most cases he has to blame himself. (Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Simcha Minute, p. 122)