Busting the Blame: It’s Not Complicated

blame, costs of blame, team, team building, accountability training

The Conversation

Prospect: “John, we have a problem.”

Me: “Uh oh. What happened?”

Prospect: “You know I believe QBQ! training is needed at Lockheed Martin, but after our SVP read the QBQ! book, she decided it’s ‘too simple.’”

Me: ”Well, yeah, it’s not rocket science!”

Pause …

Me: ”Um, what’s her background?”

Prospect: ”She’s a rocket scientist.”

I’ll never forget that conversation. Yes, I missed that sale but the SVP was right: The QBQ! message of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY is simple.

But not too simple. Eradicating the cancer of blame from our world, not to mention our organizations, politics, and families, is exactly what’s needed—and not complicated.

Blame Is Spelled “b-lame”

Have you witnessed blame? If so, you’ve not only seen blame, you’ve seen lame. I mean, what could be more lame than when …

President Obama blamed Fox News, President Trump blames CNN, and Hillary blames the Russians. (And these people are our “national leaders”???)

Big box retailers blame Amazon.

Employees blame management while management blames employees.

Spouses blame each other—as they each hire an attorney.

Parents blame society for how their kids turn out. (See Raising Accountable Kids for the solution)

Celebrities blame fame and paparazzi for crumbling marriages.

Coaches, players, and fans blame game officials for a loss.

Young people blame those who’ve gone before while old folks blame Millennials.

Kathy Griffin, Queen of the Severed POTUS Head Brigade, blames Trump and sexism for the negative consequences that rained down upon her after her horrendous act she called “comedy.”

It’s a mad, mad world, I say!!! And as one QBQ! reader wrote us“The blame game is the lame game!” We agree.

Blame Sounds Like …

What does blame sound like? Sometimes, it can be mildly humorous:

An executive at a medical products distribution organization told me, “So, we’ve got a problem with our field salespeople. They keep calling our headquarters the ‘sales prevention club’.”

Ha! A new acronym for the corporate world—the SPC!

If only we didn’t have these home office people getting in our way, we could make more sales.

You know you’re witnessing blame when you hear culprit-seeking questions like these: 

“Who dropped the ball?”

“Who made the mistake?”

“Who missed the deadline?”

“Who hired these people?”

And my personal favorite: “Who came up with that dumb idea?!?”

The Costs of Blame

I’m sure we agree that blame abounds, but do we agree on its costs? Let’s make a list … I’ll begin.


  • Destroys morale
  • Reduces creativity
  • Lowers productivity
  • Increases fear
  • Damages relationships
  • Breaks down teams
  • Solves no problems

Can you add to our list? Share your answer as a comment below!

Ending The Blame Game

Ending The Blame Game isn’t complicated. All that’s required is the discipline to ask The Question Behind the Question or “QBQ.” QBQs like these make the difference: 

“How can I help solve the problem?”

“What can I do today to contribute?

“How can I let go of what I can’t change and focus on what I can?”

As we wrote in the QBQ! book

Accountable people recognize that all problems are in the past and solutions are now.

I want to be that accountable person who makes a difference. Don’t you? I surely don’t want to blame because, as we now all know, to blame is to b-lame. 🙂

Can you add to our “Costs of Blame” list? Share away!


9 Responses

  1. Delays solving the problem
    Destroys trust, perpetuating the blame cycle into the future
    Redirects resources needlessly and usually futilely

  2. People think it’s a game
    In pointing the finger of blame
    they’re blaming each other
    Or even their mother
    But the problem is there just the same

  3. To add to your list of what blame does….
    Blame weaken your soul.
    If we are constantly blaming others we are not building ourselves.
    We gain strength both personally and in the workplace as we own up to our own shortcoming or mistakes.

  4. Right on! Families, Business, and Political World needs to improve in this area! Build morale, productivity and relationships! Use this to help improve TEAMWORK which is so critical for success in our world at home and business, politics. Great coaching!!!!

  5. My Director says it the Principals last way of saying”f*** you”. I know this is not the case because I worked very closely with him he wouldn’t do that. It is the directors way of being lame. I take responsibility for my actions but the upper management seems to never make a mistake or send out a miscommunication.

  6. Yet another great article thank you. Blame can have a very negative effect, I have seen it numerous times, however subscribing to a newsletter such as this one keeps me on track. Thanks again

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