Over the last six weeks, we’ve talked about the entrepreneurial traits outlined in Gino Wickman’s book, Entrepreneurial Leap, and today, we’re wrapping up this series with the final trait – Responsible.

There are lot of phrases that are meant to indicate that a person is responsible for something or is (or is not) taking responsibility for a decision they’ve made. Most famous among them is a phrase popularized by President Harry S. Truman – The Buck Stops Here. A sign with those four words sat prominently on his desk throughout his entire presidency and was a reminder to him that he was the one responsible for making decisions while he was the president.

But did you know that the term actually originated with gamblers in saloons in the wild, wild west? In poker games, each player, in clockwise order, would shuffle the deck and deal out the cards. In the olden days, an object, often a Buck knife, would be placed in front of the person whose turn it was to deal. The person with the “buck” would either decide to deal or “pass the buck” to another player when they didn’t want the responsibility of dealing the cards.

These days, it refers to someone who hasn’t taken responsibility for a problem, situation, or decision that’s been made.

As we dig into this last trait, it probably seems obvious that entrepreneurs have to be responsible and need to take responsibility for their actions. But let’s be honest, it’s not easy to own up to or claim ownership when things go wrong.

But true entrepreneurs don’t make excuses. When something goes wrong, they don’t say or imply that their plan or idea would have worked if only this or that had happened. They step up to the plate and accept the burden of accountability, especially when there are financial ramifications. They don’t hem and haw or complain when they make bad decisions, drop the ball, or don’t meet expectations. They apologize, accept responsibility, and seek to make it right.

I think back to the beginning of 2 Smart Girls when we hired someone to help us build a lead funnel and run Facebook ads. We did the due diligence, but the company we hired didn’t deliver. Now, you might think, “Well, that’s on them. It’s not on you.” But the truth is, there were warning signs and indicators that we ignored. We didn’t trust our intuition and step in or ask the questions that needed answering. The buck stopped with us for our role in that situation.

As you think about your role as the business owner, you probably have similar stories.

How does responsibility show up in your life and in your business? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran business owner or thinking about making the leap, it’s worth examining how responsibility plays out for you.

Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Do you overpromise and under deliver?
  2. Do you make excuses if you drop the ball on your commitments?
  3. Are you organized and on top of your schedule and systems?
  4. Are you perpetually late?
  5. Do you routinely cancel plans at the last minute?
  6. Do you know how to manage your emotions… and do you do it?
  7. Do you complain when things don’t go your way?
  8. Do you blame others when things deviate from the plan or go downhill?
  9. Do you follow through when you make decisions?
  10. Do you admit to your mistakes?

Responsibility is a vital element to running a business – whether you’re a solopreneur or the CEO of a massive corporation. If you haven’t taken the Entrepreneurial Assessment yet to see where you fall on this trait or the five others, do it now.

Does the buck stop with you?




P.S. If you’re struggling and looking for a community to help you find your flame and turn up the gas, join us inside the Employee to Entrepreneur group on Facebook. This group is full of driven, passionate, and committed women who are doing work that lights them up brighter than the Olympic cauldron. We’d love to have you.