October 11, 2011

Imagine there's no blame

Over the next few weeks I welcome Jeroen De Flander from Brussels to our first round of blogging tennis. He'll pick up this conversation in his blog and then send one back to me.

Today is about integrity and how it enables us to learn and grow.

What would it be like if you took the words blame and fault out of your language?

Imagine reviewing a situation and being able to learn from it without blaming anyone. Without someone or something having to be wrong and someone else having to be right.

What would you learn?

Often we look at integrity from a perspective of what is right and what is wrong.

Maybe integrity is only about what works.

If we look at a situation dispassionately from what works, there is no one to blame if something isn't working. There is just what is happening and what needs to be done to improve the situation. Without a scapegoat, there is someone we can work with to find a solution.

When we seek to learn and not to blame, we are more readily able to expand our view and see many different perspectives. We can have conversations that tackle the tough stuff because without blame or shame, it doesn't seem so tough after all. 

Great coaches and great leaders alike know that to have these conversations you need to suspend judgement. Only then will people confront really big issues because of the deep trust that makes it safe for them to be honest and share. 

Those are the great conversations that lead to better relationships, higher performance and future leaders. 

In the words of Naomi Simson, Founder of RedBalloon and one of the True Leaders featured in my upcoming book, "Blame doesn't work. All it does is make people feel bad and then they don't want to play."

When was the last time you blamed someone and it really solved anything?

Over to you Jeroen. What are your thoughts?

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