Friday, May 02, 2003

Passing the blame.

I've been thinking about this topic a lot off and on for awhile now. I wrote down in my notepad late in the evening one night my thoughts about what I see as the biggest problem at work is. Personality conflicts occur, but they are not really a problem. I think the core problem is that no one wants to take responsibility for their mistakes.

The ball gets dropped once in awhile. It happens. There are ways to help but that's not the problem. The problem is that the people who drop the ball don't take responsibility for their mistakes and try to pass the blame to someone else. It doesn't matter if they do it on purpose or not.

When the blame has been shifted people try to "fix" the person or group or process that was blamed. That fixes nothing because the real problem is not being seen. Fixing the wrong "problem" only leaves the real problem unresolved and ripe to reoccur.

When the problem happens again the blame is already shifted to the wrong place, by the first precedence, and resources are wasted.

If and when the REAL problem is identified then, and only then, do things get fixed.

This doesn't just apply to work either. It applies to all of life. People are always looking for scape goats and excuses to blame. I have done it myself and probably will again, even knowing the situation.

I don't believe most people do this on purpose. Some of it is cultural. Some of it is ingrown from childhood. Some of it is totally unconscious. We look out for our personal best interests. I think that's instinct. But what makes humans better than animals is that we control our instincts.

I'm well aware of the difficulty in changing your way of thinking to take more responsibility of your actions. Look at the joke our legal system has become. Our culture has evolved (not necessarily for the better) to make excuses. "It's not my fault because..."

I don't like to admit my failures any more than anyone else, but how can we grow and be better people if we don't? In a business if individuals do not take responsibility then they are not looking out for the best interests of the company but of themselves. A job is not the end all, be all, of most peoples lives, but at the same time, if you are not working to better the company you are working against it.

No comments: