Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Never pass the buck"

Over the next couple days I'm going to be communicating out a change related to financial policy with which some of our staff may take issue. This change was initiated by those several levels up from me organizationally, and while I think the change makes sense given the information I have, there is a temptation to distance myself from it in order to engender allegiance from those I lead and work alongside.

The timing then was appropriate, and perhaps providential, for my starting in tonight on the book "First, break all the rules - What the world's greatest managers do differently". In the introduction, an interview with a very successful restaurant manager is recounted in which he shares a few helpful management tips he has picked up during his 15-year career. All of the tips were insightful; one struck a particular chord...

"And especially important: Never pass the buck. Never say, 'I think this is a crazy idea, but corporate insists.' Passing the buck may make your little world easy, but the organism as a whole, sorry, the organization as a whole, will be weakened. So in the long run, you are actually making your life worse."


  1. I can't help but ask... What does it mean, "pass the buck"? Maybe I don't get it because it's late, but maybe I really want to know because you didn't explain what that means for "pawns" like me. Well, I don't really think I'm a pawn. Perhaps you meant for rooks and knights to understand what you meant because you were communicating to them.

  2. Hi Erin, thanks for asking. There is pretty good context for the phrase here (I certainly learned found the history interesting):

    I think the definition given is the one being used in this example: To evade responsibility by passing it on to someone else.