Think about a time when you needed to solve a critical problem and time was of the essence. Did you care whose fault the problem was? Nope. All you cared about was what information you needed to get a solution, and who and what you needed to implement it. In a crisis we filter out irrelevant concerns and focus on the task at hand.
Finger pointers don’t want to focus on solving the problem. Finger pointers rationalize that there is no need to change anything because they NEVER would have made the mistake that caused the problem.
Everyone makes mistakes.
Image courtesy of Pakorn / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Do people in your business, or personal life expend mental energy finding who to blame for problems, instead of solving the problems and finding ways to prevent them? If so, why would anyone in that environment try a creative new idea that might take a few tries before working properly? If people are afraid to make mistakes, forget about them coming up with a creative solution to a problem. (oh, and financial incentives don’t help either, watch Dan Pink’s TED talk for more on that)
If we want to build a problem solving culture, in which deep thinking on elegant solutions is highly valued, our focus won’t be on who caused the problem. Our focus will be on what needs to change. And critically, what help is needed to change it.
The next time someone tells you about a problem that has occurred and your first instinct is to ask, “who’s responsible?”, catch yourself. Instead, ask, “What do we need to do to fix it?”
Don’t point the finger. Solve the problem.