This is from my long-time mentor Alan Weiss. You can subscribe to his newsletter here.
“There seems to be a default, visceral reaction to “blame” someone. If we trip coming into a room, we’re incensed that someone left a chair in the way. (If someone else trips coming into a room, we call them “clumsy.”) There is an entire “industry” blaming big government, banks, big pharma, the media, an entire generation, and so forth.
Finding someone or something to blame absolves us of responsibility, but it does absolutely no good otherwise.
When organizations find blame (instead of the cause of a problem), they undermine their own performance because they think the problem is solved—“Joe” was at fault. And then everyone walks away, patting themselves on the back (except Joe). But if Joe weren’t at fault, or his judgment and behavior weren’t improved if he were at fault, then the problem remains and will recur.
Simply finding blame solves nothing.
And that includes blaming yourself. Find the cause of your error. Ask how best to remove the cause and correct the situation. Then ask how to prevent making that error again in the future.
We all learn by making errors and determining how to correct them and prevent them. But we learn nothing if we merely sink into a morass of guilt and shame.
No one and nothing is perfect. Success trumps perfection.”