In my executive leadership call this past week, I brought up a saying you may have heard before: What you permit, you promote. This phrase actually has a few extra adjunct phrases as well: What you allow, you encourage; what you condone, you own; what you tolerate, you deserve. Each one of these phrases is like a punch in the gut because they all point back to us. There’s no passing the buck here.
These phrases are equally applicable to our work life as they are to our personal life. They remind us that we can no longer blame someone else, and they highlight our complicity. Furthermore, there is one word, that if you use it in a sentence about you or someone else, you will know there is a problem. The word is “but.”
Think about the words “permit”, “allow”, “condone”, and “tolerate.” I’m certain you have someone in mind right now (and it may be you). Now think about how you have used the word “but” to tolerate bad, unacceptable, and unproductive behavior. Have you compromised your values? integrity? work-ethic? “Yes, but…” is an excuse, regardless of what follows. You might let them (or you) off the hook, but why? I’m holding you on the hook today, because nothing good will come from sub-par behavior. Nothing! Let’s go. Make a stand.
PS Would you like to know where “passing the buck” comes from? https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/pass-the-buck.html