I’ve been talking to a friend a lot lately about blame. We pretty much reduced it to a joke — “It’s your turn to have it be all your fault” “It’s Nala’s [the dog's] fault”.
Because that is about as useful as it is to blame someone. The motivation is mostly defense, denial, or anger. Resolution of the problem? Blame isn’t too helpful.
So now I ran into an article about blame and healthcare, and it triggered some new thinking for me.
One is to actually use the urge to blame to do some research. What happened? What is measurable? What were the stated goals or assumpitons that went wrong? What intervention can now be consciously applied and measured?
I’m the intuitive type, mostly, these days. It is faster and since my intuition is based on lots of intelligence and experience it is even pretty good mostly. But this has set me back down the path of using scientific principles to examine and then come to conclusions. And when you approach it that way, you look at the process that failed, the assignment that failed, and not so much the person. Although you can certainly have bad matches of people and tasks, like asking me to show up in corporate attire to an event. I’m likely to fail. I just don’t know how to do it and would be blindly uncomfortable in hose and make up, and don’t have the skills to even know how to start.
Unless I did extensive study and research and lots of direct advice and donations.
So the milk has been spoiling. The raw milk we get from the cow. And it would be easy to just blame the carious people and even that it is raw milk and this and that. But instead a detailed scientific analysis of temperatures and times and exposures and testing for pathogens and systems makes sense. We see the week points, correct them, and check again.
It doesn’t matter who spoiled the milk – we have spoiled milk, that is unacceptable, so we either fix the systems at where it is at greatest risk or change the system at a deeper level.
Of course, my other interest is what happens when you’re honest with people and upfront about what the failings may be? It took I lot of practicing for me to be able to easily say “I’m wrong” but these days it isn’t a big deal at all. And I’m willing to share that experience with other people if it will help. Including modeling “hey, I made a mistake” so they feel more comfortable with their mistakes.
So with the milk I also sent the detailed info to all the milk group. Because it is the right thing to do. And when it comes to raw milk, being honest and transparent is the only way to deal with the true risk involved, and replace the ned for regulations, inspections, paperwork, and other measures that are just not as meaningful in the long run.
So there are a lot of little lessons and ideas and values in this small post, but the bottom line is I’m investing my time in communication, transparency, identifying and solving problems so we can all live easier and happier. And I don’t really care who is to blame. But we also need to remove incompetent people from positions they can’t handle – and that is a lesson we are all learning and why I hope Obama wins the white house in November.