Who should we blame?

Something that we all know is that there is a blame culture in business. Something that not many people know is that we don’t need a blame culture in business.

Take this scenario:

  • Worker A is tasked with Job A to be performed weekly
  • Worker B is tasked with Job B to be performed daily
  • One day, Worker B is away, and Job B needs to be performed
  • Worker A is asked to perform Job B by Manager C
  • Worker A has no previous knowledge of Job B, but is competent, so performs Job B

Now in this scenario, we have a competent worker who has been asked to do something they are not used to doing, and because it is a daily process, it is time critical that it is done that day.

An amount of days go by and worker B returns and continues performing Job B, only to find that a small, yet critical step has been missed by Worker A meaning that Job B has not been performed correctly.

Who is to blame:

  • Worker B for not properly documenting the processes of Job B?
  • Worker A for not properly following the existing documentation of Job B?
  • Worker A for not properly performing Job B?
  • Manager C for practices that mean only Worker B is qualified to perform Job B?
  • Manager C for asking Worker A who has no knowledge of Job B to perform Job B?

The answer? Nobody. None of these people should be blamed for any of these reasons because the culture of blame is not productive.

What should happen after this issue is.

Worker B confers with Worker A to find out exactly what problem this has caused, if any. Worker B should then create a solution and display its validity to Manager C. The solution should then be deployed. After this, Worker B should then update or create the documentation to Job B, and if possible, restructure Job B in a way where the issue is no longer possible. This will allow any future worker will be able to perform Job B without this issue arising again.

What happened here is, the company did not waste time finding out who was the root cause of the issue, they wisely spend money finding out what was the root cause of the issue and ensured that it could no longer happen.

Knowing who caused the problem does not fix the problem and it does not save you any money, as a business, knowing who caused a problem, costs you money.