Blame: The Spreadable Sin

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So often people say, “There’s plenty of blame to go around!”—a favorite phrase of the media. It seems to be our human nature to immediately ask Whodunnit?! when something happens that was unplanned, disappointing, or embarrassing.

When it all goes wrong—even if we know in our heart that what we did was stupid—it’s tempting to spread the blame around saying, “Well, yeah, I did do that, but, you see, that person over there made me do it!”

Or this: “I accept 65% of the blame, but he/she is 35% responsible, too!”

In the ’70s, a common phrase that adorned car bumpers was this:

For Outstanding Organizations, The Customer Is Never a Burden

Make me Feel Important

The King Soopers grocery store recruiting manager asked, “So, Jazzy, what does good customer service look like to you?”

With 17 years of life under her belt, Jazzy responded:

“Good customer service is being outgoing, friendly, and approachable; making customers feel like they’re your #1 priority and never a burden.”

“Um, okay, well, so … when can you start?”

When Miller Child #6—Jazzy Joy—shared this exchange with Karen and me, we beamed. “Good for you, Jazz!” we said in stereo.

And at that moment, my mind went back 24 hours …

Courtesy, Rudeness, Meetings, and Teamwork

Readers, can you help us solve a problem???

Int3

I received this email from Betty:

“John, the 10 questions for better communication in your blog titled Why don’t THEY communicate better? is Just More Blame really helped me. They also made me reflect on a communication problem we’re having: People who interrupt. Two team members in our department frequently interrupt colleagues during meetings, including the director, who is our boss.”

After reading the rest of Betty’s email (below), essentially describing four scenarios, I couldn’t resist titling them. So the headings are mine, while the descriptions are hers.

Let’s continue with her email:

“Why don’t THEY communicate better?” is Just More Blame

IMG_4549I bet the maker of this Rice Lake, Minnesota sign was not really saying, “Enjoy your visit to our Port-a-John in the woods!”

But that’s what the sign said to me when I read it.

That doesn’t make me dumb. Nor does it make the sign’s author stupid.

We simply were not communicating.

Communication—it’s a problem … everywhere.

This scene has played out many times in my 29 years of training:

1,000,000 Chances to Practice Personal Accountability

muffin

David, an AutoTrader executive, made a very cool statement.

After reading QBQ!, attending a QBQ! keynote at a national conference, and implementing the QBQ! training system with his team—in other words, after he’d been exposed to our message of Personal Accountability in several ways—he said:

“John, QBQ! brings english muffins to mind.”

Chuckling, I responded, “Oh, wow, David, that’s a new one. In what way?”

“Well, the more I immerse myself in the material, the more I find there’s not a ‘nook and cranny’ in my life where I cannot apply QBQ!

Like melted butter on a warm english muffin, Personal Accountability seeps into every area of my life—if I let it. If “nooks and crannies” represent the roles we play and moments we experience in a lifetime, there just might be 1,000,000 chances to practice Personal Accountability.

My list, like yours, begins with my obvious roles:

6 Costs of a Dangerous Way of Thinking

Nucla Sunset

Have you heard this?

“If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes!”

Sorry to offend those who think their weather is “all that,” but Karen and I have lived in Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado since 1980, and in each locale that claim has been made.

Not sure why people think their weather is unique. Maybe it’s a result of growing up in one region of the country and never moving from there. I don’t know.

It’s not a bad thing to say, of course. It’s just … “uninformed.” (Yes, I know, that will offend some. Sorry!)

But there is another uninformed statement people make that is a bad thing to say. I’ve heard it in the computer industry, oil and gas field, funeral home business, faith-based world, and the restaurant market. It’s this:

Accountability: Be An Achiever, Not An Alpaca

Alpacas

Every time we visit our friend’s Colorado Alpaca ranch, I note these animals do a lot of standing around, as if they’re waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Look at the photo above that I shot. Don’t you agree they could be thinking, What should we do now?

To me, they appear to be slightly odd, inaction-prone creatures who probably don’t get much done each day.

I suppose that’s fine for an Alpaca herd. We just wouldn’t want it happening—or should I say, not happening—in our organizations.

Can you imagine people getting paid to work X hours but spending some of that paid time asking Incorrect Questions (IQs … quick tutorial) like these?

21 Doable Life #CHOICES

Choices food final

Choices. We hear all about them. We’re told motivational “fluff stuff” like, WE MAKE OUR CHOICES AND THEN OUR CHOICES MAKE US! We tell our teens: MAKE GOOD CHOICES!!!

All well and good. Just not very practical. And not specific enough to be doable.

As I began to lose weight—full story here—people would ask me what I was doing to burn calories and I’d say, “Walking.” Many would respond with, “But what are you doing to build muscle?” or “That’s it? Walking!?!”

I’d respond with, “Well, I figure if I’m walking around the block, I’m not on the couch watching ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ reruns.”

That’s when I realized the whole concept of choices comes down to this:

Engaging in—or selecting—a better action over a not-as-good action.

Said another way, if I am doing X then I cannot be doing Y.

Here are 21 #CHOICES anyone can make:

To Be or Not to Be … Outstanding!

Our veterinarian is featured in the Outstanding! book in Chapter Twenty—“Be Flexible: Put People Before Policies”—as an example of not-so-great customer service. Unnamed, of course.

Unnamed because “Dr. D” is a nice guy and a terrific doctor for our pets. But the good doc needs to wear his other hat, though I fear he’s misplaced it.

SMALL BUSINESS OWNER.

Let me be transparent regarding my veterinarian philosophy: