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     Eliminate Blame From the Equation

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Eliminate Blame From the Equation
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Blame and Shame; Close Cousins
Eliminating blame is so powerful that this one single shift will catapult your efforts to improve everything from cost containment to business processes to personal relations and teambuilding. From a Bang-for-the-Buck perspective, this change alone will give your life a healthy booster shot.

Aside from shame and blame having a causal relationship to one another, they have several other things in common. For one, blame is as pervasively (and fundamentally) woven into our culture as shame. For another, neither add any positive impact on or value to any problem solving process. What’s worse, they're actually both counter-productive to such processes. So here we are once again, faced with our typical cultural behavior standing in our own way of progress. And it being pervasively woven into the culture is going to make it difficult to remove. Don’t let this stand in your way, though. The sweeter fruit tends to be further out on the branches.

First, in using blame, what are we trying to achieve or accomplish? Would it be safe to say that we’re trying to avoid the shame that we anticipate will be dumped on us as a result of (somebody) making a mistake or doing something "wrong?" Notice it’s not really important who made the mistake. It’s just important that you don’t get blamed for it, because of that shame thing. Now sometimes the shame thing is so embraced by a company’s culture, that there are systems in place to make it official (demotions, pay-cuts, probation, firing) and sometimes it’s just the usual tribal banishment (isolation from the ”in” crowd.) Bottom line, there's no actual solution inherent in blaming. Nothing gets fixed.

It's the same thing outside of business, in relationships and actions in general. Someone taking responsibility for a deed is only useful for getting to the core of the problem, unless we're talking about actual crimes. Figuring out why it happened and how to prevent it in future is far more useful.

Blame Tries To Close the Door, Without Fixing
When talking about making mistakes, I’m not talking about performance issues. This is not about someone not caring about what they’re doing, and exhibiting a trend of sloppy work. This is about looking beyond ”who is to blame,” and looking at the problem to be solved. All the Blame Game is capable of creating is an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, and animosity. This atmosphere stops people from coming together to solve problems in team fashion. There’s simply too much suspicion and fear, and of course the overriding concern is about the blame, not about coming up with a solution. Worse, this divisiveness enforces an ”us or them” mentality which always disallows cooperative problem solving.

As an example, I'll lightly disguise a client scenario from years ago. A manager blamed a machine operator saying, ”Tom messed up that part again.” There’s no further exploration into why, because the manager protected himself from whatever punishment or shaming behavior is being held over either of their heads. What’s worse, Tom has now gotten a black mark on his reputation, without due process or a jury of his peers. Now, what if we look into why Tom messed up that part? What if we find out that it’s not about Tom’s being incompetent at all? What if we find out that Tom has been complaining for months that his lathe has bad bearings and the material won’t spin true? When we stop blaming Tom for messing up, we can actually find real solutions for real problems. (In this scenario we’d also discover that there’s a communication breakdown between the production floor and management as well.)

When we stop blaming the shipping department for getting an order wrong, we open up the discussion to discover that there’s a communication breakdown between the sales department and the shipping department, which can now be solved. We stop passively accepting the log jams being somebody’s fault, and start actively looking at them as common obstacles to work on together.

Action Steps

1. Start actively becoming conscious of where and when blame comes up in meetings, conversations, and other discussions about processes or problems.

2. Make it a rule that there will be No Blaming in these discussions, and everyone will simply have to find another way to describe what is happening. (The order arrived late vs. Joe processed the order too slowly).

3. Find ways to reward the behavior of taking on responsibility for solving problems as opposed to off-loading the responsibility by blaming others.

The more this behavior is rewarded in place of hiding behind blame being rewarded, the more people will actually come together, take on responsibilities, and help you build a better, more prosperous organization (or relationship.)

If you're a sole proprietor, dealing with vendors, suppliers, and clients in this manner will help you enroll them in your virtual organization, and get them on your team. If you're a parent, you can teach a far more conscious and effective approach to problem solving to your kids. In a relationship, removing the Blame Game allows you to concentrate on solutions together, rather than blame tearing you apart.

When you eliminate blame from the equation, you’ll get positive, real solutions.

Want to learn more about how to become the best you possible?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.

     - Ian J. Blei


August Special:

It worked out so nicely for people last month, so I'm once again offering 3 complimentary Dynamic Exploration Sessions (1 session each) to the first 3 people (who haven't already worked with me) who email me this month's secret word: "Blameless"  Just put "No Blame" in the Subject Line of your email, along with your contact info, and we'll schedule your session.

He combines his extensive knowledge of integral theory, the Enneagram, and neuroscience, in a seamless way (truly a Grand Unifying Theory of Everything), and helps you apply this greater understanding to whatever matters to you. He helps you build the trellis which you can hang any flower on that you choose.." - P.R., - S.F.

Each session is normally $249.00, and will be worth much more to you in life-changing ways.  Good luck! Click to Schedule.


Resource Links:

The Integram (TM) - the podcast series

Melissa Risdon's Raving Fan Radio Show:
Ian Blei on the
Integram (TM) -understanding ourselves, each other, and our relationships

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition



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