Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The End of Blame is the Beginning of a Great Organization

What do people fear most? Criticism. Put another way, blame.

In his book, If God Stops Working, James Dale forwards the theory that many concepts of (G)od were created in order to have someone to blame for the mishaps and tragedies that we can’t logically explain or don’t want to accept.

I think he’s right. People want a reason. Who can be held responsible when things don’t go as planned? “We don’t like the outcome. Who’s to blame? Whose stupid idea was this anyway?”

And then there’s pre-blame, “That won’t work.” Followed by the blamer’s mantra, “I knew it wouldn’t work. Told you so!”

Where does perpetuating that age-old bad habit get you as a leader? Inactivity, while stuck in the “safe”, comfortable ways of doing things. No innovation. No growth. No productive thinking. No risk taking. No success and no fulfillment.

No fun.

Don’t confuse not reaching goals (factual) with being blamed (emotional). Can you take the blame out of your group or company?

What if you said, “Nice try. Now, what did we learn?” Or maybe, “Don’t stop trying the new things. If we stop, we’ll get buried.”

What if you said that, and your actions and other words showed you really meant it? People would step up and be the leaders you hired them to be. Those people would get out of bed ready to accomplish something every morning.You’d be leading the groups or organization you always wanted to be a part of.

And you would keep and attract the best.

In his book, Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about having “bad idea” sessions. Bring your worst ideas and throw them on the table. Thing is, there’s always at least one good one in there.

Without the threat of blame, those hidden ideas come to the surface and get used.

Find the way to encourage and welcome criticism in your organization. Forget the blame.

Leaders accept effort, risk, and creativity. They shoulder the responsibility for encouraging “outlandish thoughts” and make impossible futures a reality.

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