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The Art (or not) of Blamestorming

When times get tough, when people get stressed, and when they are faced with a crisis, it is interesting to observe how many people seem to suddenly become skilled in the Art of Blamestorming. Loosely defined Blamestorming is a meeting of like-minded people who enjoy sitting around in meetings, deciding who or what they are going to blame for their current plight.

How many good Blamestorming sessions have you had in your own organization recently? You probably know some people who are highly skilled at Blamestorming. Some people are so proficient that they do not even need an organized meeting in order to practice their art. They do it at the water cooler, in the elevator, on the phone and some are even skilled enough to record it on paper or send out by email.

In our current economic climate it is not difficult to become a skilled Blamestormer as there are so many easy targets to pick from; Wall Street; The Government; Over Spending Home Owners; Greedy CEOs; Oil Prices and the like.

Unfortunately though, Blamestormers tend to lead their organizations on a vicious downward spiral of panic, falling morale, resignations, lack of focus on solutions and a lack of vision for the future because they are too focused on finding someone or something to blame for the past.

What organizations need now more than ever are not people who are looking to place blame, but for leaders who are prepared to step forward and take some responsibility. To take responsibility for how we got here, what needs to be done about it, what does the future look like, and how are we going to execute a plan to get there. 

Good leadership is always about responsibility and never about blame. Of course there are always things that occur that are beyond your control and yes they can affect your current situation. Strong leaders though will instinctively know that sitting around discussing who is at fault will achieve very little.

Instead they will ask themselves some of the following questions: 

  • Did we really have a contingency plan in place for recessionary times?
  • Have we created a culture of innovation so that we can look at new ways to grow?
  • Have we created an agile organization that can adapt quickly to changing needs?
  • Have we built a loyal engaged workforce who have faith in their leadership and will stay with us?

In the days ahead, organizations that have developed strong leadership will be thinking about how to learn from the past, be innovative today, and provide inspiration for tomorrow so that they emerge stronger, leaner and well prepared when the upsurge occurs. They will not be wasting time with the Art of Blamestorming.

Bryn Meredith is a principle of Bluepoint Leadership Development.  He has extensive experience as a business leader, entrepreneur and leadership development specialist. Bryn can be reached at [email protected]