What does it mean to be Responsible

The root of the word “responsible” means to respond. But respond to what? To respond means that there is something we have obligated ourselves to.

  • Paying a debt
  • Caring for a business
  • Caring for employees that are under your care

The essence of responsibility is not in the title, is it the action of the response. Anyone can incur debt, start a business, or hire employees, that act along does not mean we are responsible. Being responsible lies in the action of the response.

What are the options to responding as a business owner, or an employer with employees?

  1. Do only what is required by law
  2. Do what will cost the business the least amount
  3. Do what it right, but right for who?

Jack Welch, former GE CEO, when speaking about the role a business has in society said that a business has one objective; to make money, that is the object and goal of every for-profit enterprise. Then how to do you weigh the responsibility to the employees

The answer is simple, what is right for the business IS ALWAYS right for the employees. Think about what larger profits means for employees

  • Stable employment
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Competitive wages

It never has to be a choice between what is right for the business and what is right for the employees even when that means that people must be let go for the health of the business. But the opposite is also true; when employees are invested in, they will be more productive which will lead to increased growth and more jobs.

Being a business owner is not about the title, it is about accepting the responsibility to care for the business and its assets, including; employees, contractors, vendors, and customers. Here are 5 things ways of responding to the obligation of being a business owner that will increase profits.

  1. Show gratitude to your employees. They have a choice and they choose to work for you.
  2. Being willing to work side by side with your people. Let them see your passion for your business.
  3. Share your vision. You will be surprised how many people will want to help a cause.
  4. Be seen. Get out with your employees, with your customers and even your vendors. Employees want to have a leader and a big part of being an effective leader is to be seen.
  5. Recognize effort. People will work a lot harder for someone who acknowledges effort. In fact, they look for it, and when it doesn’t come, they start holding back.


SBO Advocates