Practice Blameless Problem Solving – FOW #18


Focus on finding a solution, not who is at fault.

Apply your creativity, spirit, and enthusiasm to the development of solutions. 

Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve processes, so we learn from every experience.

We don’t really consider ourselves to be in the “how to” business.  It would be more accurate to say we are in the “how to be” business.

Nevertheless, sometimes it’s nice to know what to do when it comes to dealing with problems or breakdowns, especially since it usually involves other people.  In order to practice blameless problem solving it might be useful to consider:

There’s no accountability in blame and
There’s no blame in accountability.

Once you’ve got on your accountability hat (versus your blame hat) make sure you are going directly to the person or the people who can help solve the problem:

  1. Always start with your commitment: to the person, the team and to the outcome.  This provides a healthy context for why you are addressing the issue and the spirit in which you are approaching it.
  2. State the facts as facts.   NO STORY REQUIRED (this includes explanations, justifications, assessments, opinions, and accusations.)
  3. Share how the issue has impacted business results AND own your perception of how it may have impacted yourself and others, without blame.
  4. Request a resolution to creatively and collaboratively handle the immediate problem along with a sustainable solution going forward, which may include processes and communicating with others.  Be specific, make sure it’s measurable and set in time.

When you practice blameless problem solving using these steps on a regular basis you strengthen both the accountability and the partnership required in high performing cultures.  You are also practicing the art of using challenges, issues, and problems as a way of increasing trust verses eroding trust.

Key word here is it’s a practice, not a perfect.

All my best,