Episode 155 - Responsibility sharing


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We often get asked how we do it all (raising our son while running two businesses and Kristin's teaching and being director of a graduate program) and still get along with each other. Today we discuss one of our most important tools: responsibility sharing.

What is responsibility sharing?

Responsibility sharing is a method of cooperation where everyone in the house works as a team to get things done. It's not about who checks off the most boxes each day or each week. Rather, we want the team to win by getting everything done. 

For some families, this might seem odd since, without individualized checklists, there appears to be no accountability. However, when the family buys in and begins to work in a team mentality, everyone is accountable for the success of the family.

Making shared responsibility work in your family and your business

In order for this to work, there are some important steps that need to happen.

Everyone must buy-in to the team mentality

We are a team and the team must be successful. In order for that to happen, everyone must work together. That means that it's not important who does a task as long as the task gets done. Every task is everyone's responsibility. 

When a family or business makes that switch in mentality, things just get done. There is less arguing and everyone stops keeping score. 

This transition can take some time to implement and will probably require family or workplace rewards in the beginning as new habits are learned. This is a huge change in mentality for most people who are often motivated by individual rewards.

We must accept that things may not get done exactly the way we want them

Giving up control is hard for some people because they are worried things will not get done the way we would do them. Many of these people also beat themselves up when they don't do things perfectly. Accepting that things done less than perfectly are still done is a big part of making this work (and not losing your sanity in general). 

"Things done less than perfectly are still done."

 If you are unable to do this, you will never be able to delegate things off your plate, whether it is a family member, employee, or contractor doing the work. 

Understanding how our brains are wired and appreciating everyone's contributions

Women carry around a lot of mental weight. We are always planning and worrying about things that may or may not happen months or years in advance. I (Kristin) am completely guilty of this. I'm already looking at homeschool curriculum for Erik, our 8-month old. Women carry lists in their mind that would be difficult for Watson to compute. 

That also means that we are often working on tasks that people around us do not realize are even happening. From shopping deals to making sure the bills are getting paid online, often the family does not understand some of the contributions we make and that those contributions are often exhausting.

Making sure that we understand and appreciate each other's contributions helps everyone feel valued and contributes to everyone's willingness to help the team win. Even with Erik, we praise him when he plays on his own so we can get a bit of work done. Because he does that, we are able to spend time with him after his nap because we got our work done. 

Practicing mutual respect and positivity

If you want to get people to help you, yelling and criticizing is not the way to do it. We all know this but how often do we ignore it? 

Practicing mutual respect makes everyone feel they are a valuable part of the team and more productive. Be grateful for your team and their contributions. 

Your reality is what you believe it is. If you choose to be in a bad mood and only see the negative things, you will attract more negativity. If you choose to be grateful for the blessings in your life, even if those things are small, you will attract more positive energy into your life. If you don't believe me, try it. Don't BS it. Actually try it. Mean it. It works. 

What are your tips for responsibility sharing in your life and your business? 


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