The Blame Game


Admittedly it is human nature to blame a role or function for your troubles or general incompetence when you don’t know the people involved, their key drivers or the objectives that they have been given.  So, is it ok?

Well, I suppose if you don’t mind other people doing it to you!  Has anyone ever taken the time to understand that you do your job to the best of your ability, based on the objectives and guidance you have been given?  Would you like someone passing judgment on you without this more detailed information?

I was guilty of this myself this week.  I thought I finally found a part of our organization that was exhibiting poor behaviour with regards to one of our key corporate objectives.  I had significant data to base my opinion on (more info that most people bother to learn about others jobs)  and had reviewed the issue with several teams that validated my observations.  Did I still get it wrong?  Yup!

Once I made the team’s performance an issue, I found out that the team was trying to take our key issues into account, but they had several other stakeholders that forced them to behave in a ‘negative’ way.

I broke my own personal rule to avoid placing blame because I was pressured to show results!

Moral: Organizational problems are always more complex than they seem, suspend judgment before you know all the facts AND give the people in question a chance to explain their actions.  You will find the organization is much like a web, and pulling on just one strand won’t have any lasting impact.

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2 Responses

  1. Sometimes people are just wrong and stupid! You do not always have time to get all the facts and people often cover up their mistakes. I think it is a good thing to call this out and correct things fast. Handling things with too soft a hand results in overall failure and chaos.

  2. I guess it depends where you work.

    I happen to work somewhere where there are a lot of smart people all trying to meet their own conflicting objectives (often they aren’t conflicting, but rather appear to be).

    You think that blaming leads to correcting things faster than just getting people to see your point of view?

    How would you characterize your work environment? Lots of capable people running around with their heads cut off because of unclear objectives, or just incompetent people worthy of blame? 🙂

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