Blamestorming – [bleym-stawrm-ng] – Verb – An occurrence in corporate America where people spend productive time creating creative ways to shift and deflect blame for failures to co-workers or others.
Americans hate failure.
People who fear failure never truly venture to push themselves to the edge where real innovation happens. When an athlete makes an awe inspiring catch, we focus on the perfection, the success, the rightness of that perfect catch. What we never think of is the trial and error, the failures, the misses that taught that athlete to be truly great player. Anyone who achieves greatness knows that embracing failure as a teacher lead them to a new level of understanding in their craft. People who fear failure create a vortex of destruction in your business.
Are you in a blamestorm?
The blamestorm is a business hurricane. The blamestorm forms around a manager who punishes failure, pooling more and more employees into its vortex, growing stronger. When a hurricane crashes into a coastline, it destroys everything in it’s wake. A blamestorm destroys any hope of change or progress in your business; it’s force rips the will to venture from anyone who wants to take a chance. Let’s look at the symptoms, and see if your company is suffering from a class 5 blamestorm that’s swamping your potential.
- People are like hyenas when something goes wrong. – Everyone attacks you without mercy
- No one offers new ideas – New ideas open exposure to attack
- Decisions are deferred to someone else – Decisions are for people who can face failure
- There are fights to claim any success – People hedge their bets on claiming credit
- Participation is lackluster – Voices draw attention
- The company seems stagnant, and missing a future – Innovation has died
- Great employees are leaving – Talent knows that failure is a teacher, not a scarlett letter
- Your customer base is shrinking slowly – Your team fears making any changes, and clients leave for new ideas
- You talk, and no one answers – You’re the only person above reproach
Most companies blamestorm.
It’s behavior born from poor management of a company. People form blamestorm formations when management punishes anyone or anything that sounds, smells, or looks like failure. If your employees dread to tell you bad news, or fear punishment when something didn’t work out, you have a problem.
Learn from it. Build a cult around it. Help your team engage failure as a tool that builds new ventures, ideas, and products. Failure is an action, not a person. Honor the action, respect the person, and move onto the next idea. Success comes from trying new ideas, and knowing that only a few select ideas will be truly successful. Keeping your team positive with intellectual curiosity about learning from failure is the only cure for a blamestorm.
Take care of the orphans.
Build a culture that can embrace failure, and your team will deliver innovation that generates success. Victory has enough parents.