Have you ever been in a meeting where the focus appeared to be placing blame for a particular issue rather than finding a solution? Have you talked with individuals on your team about a particular challenge only to listen to them blame another person or team? If it seemed unproductive and unnecessary, it probably wasn’t the best use of time.
There is value in understanding the root cause of an issue. The root cause may be a person, team, technology, etc. but spending time pointing a finger or expressing frustration has little value.
Let’s change the conversation. The next time you are in one of these conversations, ask the following question of the person (s) who are focused on blaming others:
“What could you have done to change the outcome?” and/or “What steps can you take to resolve the current issue?”
The question may vary slightly based on the situation but it is important to focus the question on how the situation can be changed or what we can learn from something that has already occurred. We are changing the question to an accountable question. It is so much easier to place blame than it is to evaluate our role in a situation.
Whether you are in a group setting or an individual meeting, asking an accountable question can dramatically change the conversation. Over time, if you stop the blaming by focusing on learning and accountability, you will see the culture shift. Individuals and teams will begin to make the transition as they will take cues from you on how to handle similar situations.
The accountable question – Why not give it a try?