Practice Blameless Problem Solving
We at Momentum Consulting are in the business of helping businesses accelerate and perform through executive and team training in leadership and high performance. We lead by example, utilizing our 26 Organizational Fundamentals in how we operate business. We can help your business uncover your organizational fundamentals and help you with blameless problem solving as well.
There is a great deal of power in this fundamental, Practice Blameless Problem Solving.
For starters, when you are dealing with a problem or a breakdown, where is your attention? Is it on the issue itself, or on who is responsible for this happening? After years of organizational and executive leadership coaching, experience tells us our focus is often on whose fault this is.
The bigger the issue, and the more emotion around the problem, chances are, the greater the tendency to seek blame. The more our attention goes to who is responsible for this, the less focus we have on the solution. And, what focus we do have is clouded with judgment! It is a fundamentally flawed system or approach and we all indulge in it.
Dr. Elliott Cohen talks about this in Psychology Today:
“The blame game consists of blaming another person for an event or state of affairs thought to be undesirable, and persisting in it instead of proactively making changes that ameliorate the situation. The drive shaft of this game is a series of four irrational beliefs:
- If something has gone wrong (or is not the way it should be), then someone other than myself must be identified and blamed for causing the situation.
- This person/s’ malfeasance diminishes the respect he/she deserves as a person.
- So, it is permissible (and only fitting) to treat this person/s in ways he/she deserves to be treated such as ignoring, name-calling, and in extreme cases, physical assault.
- I must not accept any significant degree of responsibility for the situation inasmuch as to do so would be to admit that I am myself also diminished as a person, and therefore deserving of the same disapprobation and negative treatment.
- The “juice” in # 4 is I don’t have to be accountable!
Psychology is not always kind!”
Blameless problem solving involves setting our emotional response aside (to the best of our ability), and focusing on the problem, what outcome is wanted/needed and going to work on getting that outcome. When my attention is drawn to that, I have much more creativity and clarity of thought to find solutions.
Frankly, the person at fault is pretty much irrelevant at this point, unless I want to deflect any accountability on my part.
Solve the problem by focusing on the problem. The result is less stress and more resolutions. When the issue is resolved to satisfaction, then there is room for learning what you can from what caused the problem to begin with. I get the best results when I first look for what accountability I had in the matter. Notice, there is still no blame in the situation, only outcomes and learning.
The practice, discipline really, of blameless problem solving gives leaders and managers a great tool to accelerate performance, quickly build trust, and pull for greater employee engagement across the organization. When blameless problem solving becomes part of the culture, it’s a powerful lever for high performance.
When we are looking to blame, our attention is diverted and we rarely get to the cause of the issue to begin with, but that’s a conversation for next week: #19 Fix Problems at the Source.
Fundamental of the Week #18: PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM SOLVING 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.
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