HOT Tips for Success #3: Win with Responsibility.


Very late one night when my company was in crisis I was sketching solutions at the kitchen table when, rather quickly, a plan for turning things around seemed to fall onto my paper.

I reflected on other times we had been faced with a need to turn things around. As a young teacher/coach, my first track team failed, but we turned it around and became runner-up State Champions in just three short years. Later, as an educator, I realized that our traditional ways of teaching were leaving many kids behind. Pitsco helped turn that around by creating hands-on, team-based curriculum that kids and teachers loved. Now we faced a crisis in the business itself – in the processes and culture needed to sustain success. Could we find a key in the earlier turnarounds? Was there a common denominator for success?

Sitting there at the kitchen table the common denominator of success came into focus.

The secret to motivating people to extraordinary achievement lies in moving the locus of responsibility.

What do I mean by moving the locus of responsibility?

In my book The HOT Plan™ I define the locus of responsibility as the power, instructions, and
resources necessary to take charge of one’s personal success. (p. 9)


In the world of track, coaches carry the locus of responsibility for a winning season. But it is the players, not the coach, who need the locus of responsibility, because it’s the players that are on the field.

In the world of education, teachers traditionally carry the locus of responsibility for learning and become the main dispensers of knowledge in their classrooms. But what if the students were granted the locus of responsibility instead?

In the world of business, the locus of responsibility for company success is often placed upon the back of management. But it’s the employees, not the management, who carry out the details of production & sales. How high would success soar if the employees were given the locus of responsibility for their part of the company’s success?

Leadership potential is lost when management resorts to dictating ultimatums for employees to “accomplish or else” or when teachers resort to “lecturing kids.” But when management and teachers empower employees or students with the power, instructions, and resources necessary to take charge of their personal success, the locus of responsibility is transferred and leadership is born. 

For more about the Locus of Responsibility and how to transfer it to employee teams, pick up a copy of my new book, The HOT Plan™, available here in eBook, softcover, and color hardback versions. For special bulk pricing (10 or more books), please visit Follow us on Twitter @thehotplan or FaceBook, or visit for more details about The HOT Plan™.


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