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Monday Jun 04, 2018

The key to getting beyond blame

When behaviors such as blame, accusation and finger-pointing surface, improvement efforts are doomed. Instead, we need to look at the process that caused the undesirable result and help our teams to do the same. Consider the following questions:

  • When something doesn't work out well, do you first ask, “Who did it?” or do you ask, “What part of the process allowed this to happen?”
  • Do you immediately ask yourself, “How can I protect myself and save face?” or do you ask, “How can I learn from this?”
  • Do you view yourself as external to the problem, or do you consider, “What is my role in this?”
  • Do you tend to operate from a place of fear, or do you display courage and pursue growth and learning?

A helpful tool for keeping the concept alive when emotions are strong is the “five whys” technique, which helps teams identify the root cause of an undesired outcome rather than automatically jumping to a blame-based conclusion:

  • Agree on a problem statement that defines what is happening in a neutral fashion.
  • Ask “Why is that true?” or “Why is that happening?”
  • To each answer, ask “why” again. Continue asking why at least five times to identify the root cause.

Adapted from "Getting Beyond Blame in Your Practice."

Posted at 09:00AM Jun 04, 2018 by FPM Editors

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