Learning to Avoid Blame

Over at BrainBasedBusiness.com Dr. Ellen Weber posts about how Secondary Schools Stunt 3 Skills Business Needs. Those three critical skills? Problem solving, decision making, and creative thinking. It’s worth your read. Here’s the comment I left there:

Thanks for your great blog and posts. I appreciate your prod for more intelligent secondary schools, and like where you are going with your accumulation of research.

You might be interested in our own field studies ongoing since 1984 that suggest Laying Blame is a natural (i.e., both hard-wired as well as conditioned) response to anything that goes wrong—large or small—which kicks you out of flow. For example, you get ready to leave your office and can’t find your car keys. A likely first mental response of most people is the thought, frequently out loud, Who took my keys? It turns out that taking Responsibility is what’s left when you refuse to Lay Blame, Justify, Shame (yourself), or give in to Obligation or Quit. Since I can’t post a graphic of our Responsibility Process™ model here, I’ll invite you over to my blog to see it.Image of the Responsibility Process

I would guess that most secondary schools operate as most businesses do, with a climate of Lay Blame, Justify, Shame, and Obligation. When that happens people disengage, the mental position we call “Quit.”

In our model, only poor decisions are made from these mental positions, no true problems are solved since only anxieties are being addressed rather than the problem beneath the anxiety, and the primary creative thinking is how to escape the emotional pain.

My vision is to see The Responsibility Process™ and it’s associated Three Keys to Responsibility™ studied by Boards, Administrations, Faculties, and Staff’s of all schools and then taught to students as well. We find in a variety of settings, though mostly business so far, that simply teaching the process and hanging the Responsibility Process™ on the wall supports a dramatic change in thinking and in behavior. Of course, since, as you’ve pointed out, one’s reaction to problems and challenges is related to neuron activity, truly integrating the practice of Responsibility-taking when things go wrong requires practicing the Three Keys of Responsibility™ when things go wrong:

  1. Intention (intending to operate from the mental position of Responsibility),
  2. Awareness (catching yourself thinking and operating from Lay Blame, Justify, Shame, Obligation, and Quit), and,
  3. Confront (facing the truth that you could be more resourceful in responding to this problem so that you learn and grow instead of stay stuck).

I won’t attempt here to do justice to the entire 23 years of field-testing around this model and the transformative affect it has on individuals, teams, families, and organizations that study it. I invite you to my blog and web-site to do that.

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I look forward to more of your good posts and to commenting from time to time.

Posted in Recommended Resources, Responsibility on 10/31/2007 01:29 pm
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