Returning to her office after a field safety inspection, Joanne noticed packaging littered all about her buildingâ€™s main entrance. Without hesitating, Joanne collected the litter and disposed of it in a trash receptacle. Entering the office, a co-worker asked, â€œWhy did you pick up that litter? We have custodial staff for that job. You could have called them.â€ Joanne responded, â€œI couldnâ€™t just walk by and let that mess deface our attractive building.â€
Joanneâ€™s experience is not only a story of taking personal responsibility, it illustrates a common technique of denying responsibility. No one watching Joanne pick up trash ventured outside to help her. They took time to observe and criticize, but not to participate.