By Jim Selman | BioRussell Bishop’s posting about ‘The Blame Game’ is right on the money. He uses the term “responsibility” as meaning the ability to respond —literally “response – ability”. I share his definition and am always asking people to see that responsibility has nothing to do with causality (as in who did it or who will do it). Responsibility is a relationship to the circumstances, a way of being—a declaration that we always have a choice. Anything we’re not responsible for, we are a victim of.
But there is another term we sometimes confuse with responsibility and it can be an enormous source of mischief in most situations. The term is accountability. Now this word is also often misunderstood as someone’s job description or duty. I prefer to think of it as ‘count-on-ability’, the ability to be counted on for something. We can be responsible for all of it, but we still need to divide the work to be done and count on each other to deliver on what we promise.