Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Want to Hurt Them Myself

A dialogue in a recent Latent Cause Experience seminar will have me thinking for a long time.  We were discussing two of the principles of Latent Cause Analysis:  
When something goes wrong, no-one is allowed to blame anyone.  Instead, all involved are required to look at themselves.
I had thought that this principle would encourage the ultimate in personal accountability.  Even the blamers ought to realize that they would get what they wanted -- the people that “did it” would be admitting their own roles.  I learned that this was not good enough for some people.
The second principle is known as the Golden Rule of a Latent Cause Analysis, which states:  We will try to understand why people did what they did to such an extent we’re convinced we’d have done the same thing if we were that person.  
I had thought that this principle would help people put themselves in another person’s shoes before they jumped to quickly into the blaming frame of mind.  I learned that this is also not good enough for some people.

Personal Accountability in Latent Cause Analysis
One of the seminar attendees, a manager, objected to these principles saying that he wanted the option to punish someone if he thought it appropriate.  I countered his objection by asking:

If you thought you might have done the same thing if you were the person you wanted to punish, would you still want to punish him?

Yes!  Just because I’d have done the same thing doesn’t make it right!  I thought to myself, “well that’s not a bad point!”

Well then, how would you feel if the person you wanted to punish admitted his error, and even suggested his own “punishment?”

That’s not good enough.  I want to be the one that imposes the punishment.
The discussion digressed into a fictional scenario.  Another seminar attendee said:  Let’s suppose someone did not follow a procedure, and because he omitted a few steps something awful happened and a person actually died.  Let’s also suppose the “culprit” admitted his role.  Even more, let’s suppose the person quit his job, and even walked into a jailhouse and locked himself behind bars for 30 years.  Would this be good enough?

The manager said “no, that’s not good enough.”  I would want to be the one that hurts him for what he did.

I’m not too sure I know what to make of this, but my “gut” doesn’t like it.
What do you think?  What does this say about the human condition?  Are we all like this?  If not, how many are like this?  Even more, what does it say about the hopes of learning from things that go wrong?  So many questions.

Please share your thoughts below!