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  August 8, 2014
Playing the Blame Game...

 


"You are responsible for your life... you can’t keep blaming someone else... you need to take ownership and move on"
                                                    ~Oprah Winfrey

I was driving home on the freeway the other day listening to the radio.  I was really interested in the subject at the time (I can’t remember exactly what the topic was... but at the time it was very engaging).

All of a sudden I looked up and saw my off-ramp quickly approaching.  Without thinking (or looking), I immediately merged right. 

All of a sudden I heard a horn blaring in my direction... without realizing it, I had pulled right in front of someone, cutting them off and causing them to swerve to avoid a collision.

I took the freeway exit but the other car kept driving straight...

I felt horrible and I wanted to apologize to the other driver... I scared someone half-to-death... and it was totally my fault for not paying attention.

Some people like to say that the 3 best words in the English language are "I love you"...

I have a differing viewpoint... I believe that the 3 best words are instead "I am sorry"...

In both cases... the words need to be said in a heartfelt manner... simply saying the words isn’t enough... you obviously need to actually believe what you’re saying is true...

Apologizing for a mistake means that you need to acknowledge that you indeed made a mistake in the first place...

It’s your fault... you need to take responsibility for your own actions... it’s no one else’s fault...

If you blame someone or something else... then you’re not really sorry...

What you’re saying, in essence, is that it’s NOT your fault... but rather some extenuating circumstances that caused the problem, misunderstanding, and/or issue.

Blaming others is a new favorite pastime for people on earth... it’s never anyone’s own fault... it’s always something or someone else that caused the problem...

You’re late for work... but it’s not your fault... there was traffic... although you always had the choice to leave home earlier knowing that there might be traffic...

The phone rings as you’re cooking dinner... you answer it... and then you burn dinner because you become engaged in a conversation with your mother... now you blame your mother for causing your dinner to burn... but who made the decision to answer the phone in the first place?

You drop out of high school to take a construction job to earn good money... even though there are ample opportunities... you never go back to complete your education... after several years, there is a downturn in the economy and you find yourself unemployed... now you’re angry at immigrants for "taking all the good jobs in the country"... but here again... the blame for your predicament doesn’t fall on anyone else but you and your poor choices.

We are all born with free-will and we all make choices... every hour... every day... throughout our lives...

Sometimes we may try to educate ourselves or seek advice or counsel before making a decision... at other times our choices are virtually automatic.  Many times we are required to make a decision without enough information to be knowledgeable about the subject.

We can choose to hire an accountant, lawyer, or contractor to give us information so we can make informed choices... but their advice may be flawed or incorrect... yet we based our decision on their advice... but remember... we chose the adviser in the first place... so in the end... the onus is back on us...

If the accountant you hired tells you that you can make a questionable deduction and later the IRS deems that the deduction is disallowed... you owe the IRS back-taxes, penalties, and interest... not the accountant.

Sometimes our choices result in a positive outcome, other times these choices result in a negative outcome... yet in the end, we alone are responsible for the decision we made...

...which brings me back to the concept of contrition.

If we are responsible for our own choices and actions... then when something goes wrong (a bad outcome)... we are solely to blame... not anyone else.

We need to stand up and take full responsibility for the situation.

Therefore it is our obligation to apologize if our bad decision affected someone else in a negative way.

In addition to an apology, every effort should be taken to make things right for the person or persons affected.

Now you can play the blame game if you like... that’s just another decision you need to make... but think about it for a moment... could this new decision to cast blame elsewhere just multiply the damage already done?

People who have been wronged don’t want excuses.  People want acknowledgement that a mistake was made... and that you’ll try and do whatever it takes to remedy the problem.

But now here comes the tricky part... there are those times when someone believes that they have been wronged when in fact they just made a bad decision or they were just simply a victim of a bad circumstance in which there is no fault by any party.

This happened just this Monday with one of OptiFuse’s clients. 

The customer thought that they had placed an order with us... but it was never received or acknowledged by our customer service team (this is a customary practice in our industry).

Four weeks later, the customer called asking where their order was, telling us we were now late.  

We explained that we had no such order in our system but that we’d be willing to expedite the shipment getting the order out to them before the end of the day.

The customer was livid... telling us that it was our fault that we never received their order (as if we were lying)... and that we needed to ship the parts to them next-day air, at our expense ... never acknowledging that it may have been themselves who made the mistake... or perhaps they did send the order... but for whatever reason it was never received.

In the end, we just wanted to make things right for the customer... so we shipped them parts at our expense.
  
Unfortunately, the person on the other end of the phone simply could not accept that problems sometimes occur which there is no fault...

We all are human... we make bad decisions... we make errors in judgment... we make mistakes... all that create bad outcomes.

When we do... we need to accept the fact that these lapses are of our own making... through our own choices... and then stand up and take responsibility...

Once we acknowledge and take responsibility for our mistakes... we need to say that we are truly sorry and try our best to make things right...

We need to remember to -

...Accept responsibility for our actions

...Be accountable for our results

...Take ownership of our mistakes

Life is about finding solutions... not about finding fault or blame...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we are not afraid to apologize... making things right when things go wrong.



Jim Kalb
President

Email -  jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com 

Twitter - @OptiFuse

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