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I like this section of Seth Godin’s book, Tribes.

“If you hear my idea but don’t believe it, that’s not your fault; it’s mine.

If you see my new product but don’t buy it, that’s my failure, not yours.

If you attend my presentation and you’re bored, that’s my fault too.

If I fail to persuade you to implement a policy that supports my tribe, that’s due to my lack of passion or skill, not your shortsightedness.

If you are a student in my class and you don’t learn what I’m teaching, I’ve let you down.

It’s really easy to insist that people read the manual.  It’s really easy to blame the user/student/prospect/customer for not trying hard, for being too stupid to get it, or for not caring enough to pay attention.  It might even be tempting to blame those in your tribe who aren’t working as hard at following as you are at leading.  But none of this is helpful.

What’s helpful is to realize that you have  a choice when you communicate.  You can design your products to be easy to use.  You can write so your audience hears you.  You can present in a place and in a way that guarantees that the people you want to listen will hear you.  Most of all, you get to choose who will understand (and who won’t).”

That piece of advice would go a long way to improving attitudes by encouraging people to take responsibility for what happens and not immediately blame others.  That’s true leadership, which is why it is still scarce.

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