Monday, February 13, 2017
One of the things about HUMAN nature that makes it unique to just about everything else is our tendency to BLAME other things and people when something goes wrong around us.
I don’t think cats “blame.” I don’t think that apes or monkeys blame. I doubt that frogs blame. But ALL HUMAN BEINGS blame. It’s in our nature to do so.
We, as humans, are BLAMERS – all of us. It’s as if we’ve been infected with a BLAME VIRUS.
I'd like to talk about this part of our human nature, and I need to be VERY SPECIFIC in what I say.
First, our human tendency to blame is arguably the WORST part of our nature. NOTHING – absolutely nothing good can come of it. There are some who say that our BLAMING tendency is INCREASING – that it’s gone VIRAL and in epidemic proportions. From my perspective, I agree. Our world is going amok and the blame virus is at the root of most, if not all our problems.
Now let’s bring this back to the services Failsafe provides:
Our approach to learning from things that go WRONG (called Latent Cause Analysis) confronts the blame virus HEAD ON, because with an LCA,
NO BLAME IS ALLOWED.
If I were the CEO of GM, Apple, GE, or whatever and something went wrong in my corporation, all my people would know that the only time they’d have to fear for their job is if they were BLAMING something or someone ELSE for the problem. NO BLAME would be allowed! As a husband and father, I do my best to make sure the same rule applies in my home.
NO BLAME ALLOWED.
This also means NO IMPOSED PUNISHMENT for anything that anyone has done that might have caused a problem, because It is impossible to want to punish someone without blaming them – impossible.
No blame. No punishment when something goes wrong.
Now I know how that sounds. I’ve been around for a while and I’ve seen the eyes roll, and the smirks appear, and the body language that reveals where most people are on this issue. Most of you might think this is nuts. So let me continue.
Let’s talk about rules, policies, procedures and the like – and people who don’t follow them.
Please recognize that the reason we have rules, policies and procedures is to PREVENT things that go wrong. This is true at work, of course, and it’s also true in our communities, and at home. Stop Signs exist to PREVENT traffic accidents, right?
Therefore, the time to discipline people, or even to punish people is BEFORE something goes wrong – not after. Before a traffic accident, not after one!
If someone breaks a rule, (runs a stop sign) ADDRESS IT IMMEDIATELY. Ask “why did you break the rule,” and if there’s not a good answer then PUNISH THE PERSON. If it happens again, PUNISH MORE SEVERELY. If I happens even again, fire the person. If it’s a home problem and it’s a teenager that you’re dealing with, you’ll have to decide on very harsh measures if you are dealing with a child who continually breaks the rules. If it’s running stop signs, take away their license!
The point is to impose the discipline, or punishment, BEFORE something goes wrong, not after. What sense does it make to turn the head the other way UNTIL something goes wrong AND THEN “WACK?” By then, the WACK IS TOO LATE.
So when something does go wrong, I'd suggest that no-one in your company is to blame, punish, discipline, or whatever for anything that goes wrong – for any reason.
Did you hear me say HOWEVER? Most people are so IN SHOCK about what I said about NO BLAME and NO PUNISHMENT after an incident that they don’t ever seem to hear what’s coming. So are you ready????
As I said , NO BLAME as a result of an incident,” but there will be REQUIRED INTROSPECTION.
REQUIRED, as a condition of future employment.
Now, what do I mean by introspection? Well, everyone involved in whatever went wrong – from the hands-on person, to their supervision, to the management of that supervision – all the way up to the CEO if appropriate MUST ANSWER 2 questions:
First, TOGETHER they all answer: what is it about the way WE are (as an organization) that contributed to this incident, and what are WE going to do about it?
Let that sink in. Imagine the power of this question.
Secondly, and most importantly, each person, individually, in front of one another – from the hands-on to the senior levels, is REQUIRED to answer:
What is it about the way I AM that contributed to this incident and what am I going to do about it.
No blame. Required introspection.
We, at Failsafe, think that this elegantly simple, but profound shift in perspective is capable of changing the world around us.
We don’t THINK this will help. We KNOW this will help.
Please think about it.
Please share this BLOG.
Please let us know if we can help.