LifeBlood Podcast → on Task Ownership

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On this episode of LifeBlood, we talked about the idea of task ownership, what it is, why it’s valuable, how to do it and what happens if you or your org don’t embrace it with Judy Ryan, CEO of LifeWork Systems.  Listen to learn how and why a simple check in with yourself can have a big difference!

Interview Transcript

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on spending too much time on social is your daily screen time over 2 hours are you a little bit overweight not saving enough money if any or all of these are familiar strive could be for you the strive two week online boot camp will help you to detox your mind body and money getting you on your way to a happier healthier wealthier and more confident life go to strive s r i v and get your mind body and money right Judy are you ready I am ready excellent I’m Ready the people are ready let’s go welcome to money Savage engage this is George Grombacher Judy Ryan is the CEO of Life work systems she’s a culture transformation specialist a consultant a trainer an author returning guest on the money Savage podcast excited to have you back on Judy tell us a little bit about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do well first of all George I just want to thank you for having me back it’s been good to get to know you in between these podcasts also yeah I am the um the owner of a company for since 2002 so we’re in our 18th year and I’ve actually been doing this work since the mid 80s and you know and doing it fulltime since 1998 so it’s a it’s passion of mine I don’t seem to be that doesn’t seem to be dimming so and I actually believe right now with everything that’s going on it time has come because it’s all about how do we have human systems where people can actually create conditions and conversations where they love their lives and I know a lot of people aren’t loving their life right now now but I think it’s it’s an opportunity for them to grow in that yeah certainly appreciate that so we are recording this on Friday the TW Friday Friday March the 20th so just to give people level setting on everything that that’s that’s that’s that’s going on so so how talking about human systems where people can Thrive um how I I don’t even know how to go about sort of jumping into that conversation right now because it’s so Dynamic so many people are working from home so there’s needing to I I guess be new boundaries or new habits if there’s other family around and then also working virtually so there’s probably a lot of unique challenges and opportunities for is it still interpersonal communication if it’s a Skype call well it’s actually interpersonal between people like a Skype call even a Skype call but also interpersonal within people and you know human systems is a big category and this time is only one uh area where it’s very evident that it’s time to interrupt some patterns some patterns of how we see ourselves some patterns of how we see one another and one of the things that um I just want to mention is that our work is based on the work of Alfred Adler and he was a psychologist during the time of Freud an Young and there was a book about him last year called the courage to be disliked and the two Japanese authors said in the forward of their book that Alfred Adler was at least hundred years ahead of his time and to me that was so validating because I’ve been saying that since the mid 80s and really what is so important is that he was breaking down the power structures that have always been and that’s why I don’t think people were ready for him until perhaps right now and so um I know you and I kind of talked a little bit about the topic today Alfred Ed is one this is one of his major um you know focuses and which was task ownership hope I didn’t just jump in there too quickly on that George but so really one of the things that’s happening right now with the pandemic is that people if they have not been managing themselves or their relationships or their mood or their motivation or their engagement level with life it’s really they’re going to really be caught off guard uh so one of the things that we teach in our work is what’s called task ownership and and task ownership is simply when we become accountable to recognize what we’re doing recognize what’s ours to do and make sure that we’re choosing all of those behaviors and all of those choices that allow us to have a fulfilling life and contribute in meaningful ways to the larger community so sounds kind of simple doesn’t it like you know you’ve got tasks I’ve got tasks but sometimes we don’t actually have a clear idea of some of the things that should be our tasks and not our tasks so um I know you kind of asked a little bit about this topic do you want me to answer any particular questions you have on that or yeah I think I think um it’s I it it it does on one hand seem like a pretty obvious thing what what is it that I’m doing what what is it that I’m supposed to be doing um what what is within my purview what is not um is that in fact you are working with companies all the time and individuals there’s there’s a disconnect there yeah well most of the time in a company people are thinking oh I have this role of manager so I’m supposed to manage people or I’m supposed to motivate them or I’m supposed to kind of Shame them or praise them into being what I want them to be doing or I’m supposed to kind of overcompensate for things and give a lot to them in hopes that they give a lot back and and that’s the opposite of task ownership task ownership is when uh people look around and see what’s going on in their own lives and they pick up what’s Theirs to pick up but they also in leadership know how to transfer resp responsibility to other people so George I don’t know if this is okay or not but I’ll I’ll tell you a story that I tell a lot that is a good example of transferring responsibility to someone perfect would that be okay yeah please okay so um there is this story and this is a real story I was working with some schools and there was this one particular school where there was one teacher in the whole building who was using our model which is a responsibility based model where the P primary uh responsibility of the leader is to transfer responsibility to people so she was this one little group within her her school and so she had invited me in to sort of help to continue to teach her how to do that and it happened to be on a day when they had a classroom meeting and this was a group of eighth graders so they’re about 13 14 years old and she uh when I came into the classroom meeting a a boy came up to the teacher and said I have something I want to add to the agenda for this classroom meeting and she said okay so when it came around to his turn what he said was I’m being bullied by my home room teacher oh no and he said that the school the school had brought in this pledge kind of like the Pledge of Allegiance only it was a pledge where you put your hand on your heart and you say I pledge to use my words and actions for peace and he said what really bothers me is that The Home Room teacher pointed her finger at us real angry and said if you don’t do this pledge you’re going to get a detention now I don’t know about you George but isn’t that kind of a little self-defeating right so his contention was I’m being bullied and that’s not right and I need help with this you know so the teacher looked at me like okay please show me what transfer of responsibility looks like in this so I I asked him I said first of all do you even know what you want around peace like do you want peace and he saidwell yeah I do and I said okay um do you want peace with that teacher and he said yeah I do and I said ‘w great because I can help you then because one of the things we don’t do with each other is own our own tasks so one of my tasks in my life is to create a world where people love their lives and I know if he’d say I just want to take the teacher down I would say I’m not your person to help you with that and even that would have been an education for him so I was able to say great you know you know know what you want here and I’m happy to help you now are you willing to see where you’re doing war with this teacher and his reaction was so funny cuz he’s like me how am I the one doing War she’s the one who’s bullying me right and I said you know I happen to agree with you and um and to me that’s neither here nor there because you’re the one saying I want help with this and you’re the one in the room willing to do the work and to choose peace so are you willing to look at where you’re doing war and he said I guess you know it’s a little reluctant but he was willing and I said um do you ever say bad things about her behind her back and he says ‘well yeah I hate her and I said huh you can tell where I’m going huh you know anything about gossip and hate that’s warlike to you and you know and he says I guess you know and I said Do you ever try to go to her and talk to her about how you’re feeling about things because you have a very reasonable Point here and you know what if you went to her and he saidwell we’re all afraid of her and I said ah I said’ did you know that being afraid of people is a way that we’re in attack to them and he’s like what and I said um if a dog comes rushing up at you barking and growling and bearing its teeth if you get more afraid will that dog get more hostile or less hostile and he said well more hostile and I said you’re right but why and he said I don’t know and I said well that’s probably cuz nobody’s told you but the reason that that dog gets more hostile is as you come at something with fear you’ve already got him in the enemy camp you’ve already got them in the Monster Box and they’re going to feel that you’ve got them in that place where you you know have low faith in them and that you have to protect so you’ve got that fighting stance whether you’re aware of it or not and they’re going to respond accordingly and so you probably didn’t know it but as you were afraid of this teacher you are in war mode you are in attack mode and he goes well gosh you know I I never thought of it that way and I said well isn’t it great you know that so now what do you want to do and he said well now I want to go to her but I don’t even how know how to begin you know and I said well isn’t that great that you have a teacher who is set it up that you have you know 20 classmates and time set aside to work through things like this and what was really cool was that um several of the other classmates said to him well I’ll practice with you and I’ll go with you because I’ve been doing more with that teacher too nice and and that’s what happens when you transfer responsibility so if you notice I asked questions what do you want do you want peace do you want peace with that teacher are you willing to look at where you’re doing more did you know that being afraid is aack you know like Socratic is transfer of responsibility so that’s why we have a saying now one of our customers kind of helped us with this I thought it was so cute it’s the uh phrase slam say less ask more when you’re transferring responsibility to someone you say uh you know what do you what should you be doing right now or how are you going to take care of that thing that’s yours you know instead of just lecturing and nagging and all the things we do so what was kind of powerful about that for me was not only did the kids raise their responsibility sort of as a collective but even that teacher came to me and said you know you can tell how much I care about these kids and what kind of teacher I am but I’m actually ready to go and work for you in school reform because we were doing a lot of projects at that time and she said because I I’m tired of walking around the school and seeing all these values on the hallways and it would be like saying math is crucial reading is everything and never having a Matha reading class and we can teach these kids Matha reading but if we don’t get them this information they’re not going to really be able to function well in the world so that’s it’s just interesting to when you transfer responsibility everybody picks it up a little more yeah yeah there’s no question about it that’s that’s a a wonderful uh a wonderful illustration of of task ownership and I was looking at it way too probably granular of thinking about uh like just tasks like whatever it might be doing reports or whatever not owning what my responsibility is in interactions right it’s it’s it is owning our tasks that are maybe you know our our cleaning jobs in in the household or something but it’s also bigger tasks like um am I able to manage my relationships am I able to manage my own engagement in life and my own happiness am I able to manage a plan for my life where I’m actually focusing on what is it that I want to create in the world am I um even responsible for my productivity if something’s a barrier in my life so those are things I can’t even begin to tell you George that sometimes I talk to people that are in their 50s and 60s and when I say you know it’s your responsibility to be aligned with what you feel and what you want they’re not even used to asking themselves what do I feel and what do I want yeah yeah that that that’s such a powerful thing I’ve been what’s been on my radar for probably the last year are these ideas of affirmations and I am statements saying that you know I am the greatest husb been in the world whatever versus asking myself an MI I question cuz I guess you need to start with that well you want to say I am this great husband because that’s your vision right but you also want to say what is the story of that because you know everybody might have a different story around what it means to be a great husband or a great wife so uh part of it is that personal responsibility to say I’m here for my own um clear path because if we tune in we are we’re all here for our our own path and if we um listen to beyond the affirmation to well what does that mean for me and what’s the so what of that so if you came to me and said I want to I want I’ve decided I’m going to be the best husband ever I would say well what behaviors do you use that help you stay in what feels like best husband and what visions do you have for being best husband and so that would be a um hey you know because I’m a best husband U my wife and I I have all of these wonderful experiences together and we’re able to communicate effectively and we’re able to um raise our kids in a unified front and we’re great with money and you know whatever that story is that’s where you start putting the rubber to the road so that’s I think that that that essentially answers the question I wanted to ask of if you are an organization where it’s just one teacher in a school who’s who’s learning these skills um how how do I go about it as just as an individual uh making sure that that that I’m essentially owning my own tasks so it’s not necessarily I’m not saying less and asking more of others I’m I’m doing that of myself right the more that you’re willing to learn and grow so that teacher is a great example of somebody that said in their own life I’m I’m stumbling on to something here that feels like it would be helpful to my students and I’m going to do it no matter whether anyone else is doing it around me or not I mean right there was her task ownership yeah her willingness to have courage in the face of um it’s unconventional what I’m doing I’m helping Empower these kids when most people are just using the traditional control models like like that’s what is so ironic that teacher in the morning was using a command and control approach for a peace pledge do it or else right you know and that’s that’s common in our workplaces too people bringing oh I got this great idea the peace pledge let me slam it over your head with a hammer you know so that’s you know that’s why everywhere whether it’s as a parent or as a you know a leader in a company or even if you don’t have the title leader like look at how that eighth grader became the leader in the situation yeah because if I had said to him what would have commonly been said well you’re right she’s wrong and what kind of a teacher is she and we need to go report her and all that guess what I would have been saying to him you have no power you’re a victim poor you yeah you know and and that’s not going to help him grow into a strong person in the world no doubt about it I love it I think that that that that that that makes a lot of sense to me well Judy Savage Nation is ready for your difference making tip what do you have for them okay um I you know I think the most important tip that I would ask people to consider is um really checking in with themselves what am I feeling and what do I want and and that may not be something that is answered in one answer so let’s say you get mad at somebody and you say well what am I feeling what do I want well I’m furious and what I want is to strangle them well that would be your first truth right but then you might go the next level well what am I feeling now well I’m feeling relief that I just admitted how enraged I am and now what I want is I want to figure out how to go to them and and you know work this out with them or I want to figure out how to separate myself from them because they’re just not a good person for me to be in contact with you know whatever it is and so sometimes taking responsibility for ourselves means going through where you ask questions of yourself and then you consider all the possible positive or negative consequences and then you ask until all of a sudden what happens is something kind of of Clicks in and we know it’s the answer for us but it but we can’t rush to it we have to spend a little time with it so that would be my biggest tip I see people in their 50s and 60s that still say oh my God I don’t even know nobody’s ever taught me to do that and so hopefully that’s what you’re looking for yeah no I think that that is great stuff it definitely gets it come on come on what am I feeling what what do I want I think if we can take a little step back and ask oursel that question and uh what what a difference that could make not only in the in the actual circumstance but but but long term as well so I think that’s very powerful absolutely when when we don’t ask it we’re almost guaranteed to be irresponsible I remember uh a guy on a date one time and I asked him just out of curiosity why don’t you wear your safety belt and his reaction was I’m not letting the government control me uhoh and I said the government’s not even in the car with us you know but he was he wasn’t even sitting with what am I feeling and what do I want really what do I want he was just already in this knee-jerk thing that he had held on to for years never reexamined here he’s a divorce day with kids that he could end up going through the window of a car all to prove he’s not going to be controlled like probably not thinking through the consequences of that right isn’t that hilarious yeah told me lots about him oh for sure yeah I love it perfect well Judy thank you so much for coming back on tell us where Savage Nation can learn more about you and and and and get connected well I would love it if people would come to my website um www.or it’s life work singular systems and we’ve got a podcast we’ve got over 200 published articles we’ve got all kinds of things videos on almost every page I would really love to get to know people if you feel interested in what you’re reading or seeing or hearing I’d really like to connect with you more directly so um thanks for asking me that George yeah well Savage Nation if you enjoyed this as much as I did show Judy your appreciation and share Today’s Show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to lifework check out all the great content that Judy has on the site and all the great resources as well thank you again Judy thank you George talk soon yeah and until next time keep fighting the good fight cuz we All in This Together

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