One of the biggest things I see standing in the way of people's success is a uniquely western trait, blame. When things don't go as expected, our first questions are always "who did this?" and "why?"We often become so focused on placing the blame for a problem that we let the problem remain and grow in magnitude.
While consulting with businesses, I have the opportunity to work with companies from different parts of the world. This is where I first noticed this difference. In western companies, they would let issues remain for months and sometimes years while they tried to determine who was at fault. They had a subconscious need to have somebody's head to put on the chopping block.
This type of attitude only leads to people putting their energies into protecting their positions and looking for targets. Meanwhile, the original problem remains.
Companies in the east behave very differently. What is important to them is for things to be made right. When problems arise, their first priority is always diagnose and fix the trouble. They say blame profits no one and profit is the point of business.
I had originally thought this was just a difference in business philosophies until I was in a mall close to my home and observed a young couple. The husband, I believe from his accent, was Japanese and the wife obviously American. As often happens during shopping trips, the husband was left sitting with their three kids in the main concourse while the wife shopped.
As the wife was exiting a store, the husband went to help her with her bags. One of the kids turned over a diaper bag spilling its contents onto the floor. The husband never batted an eye, he simply started retrieving the scattered items before they could be trampled and scattered by other shoppers.
Meanwhile, the wife was occupied demanding to know who turned over the bag. The husband, by instinct, was correcting the problem, while the wife, following her natural impulses, was looking to lay blame. That is when I realized it was a matter of culture, not just business.
Blame doesn't solve problems. It only takes the focus away from the real issues and leads to excuses--which we all know are nothing but lies disguised as a reason.
When you're having problems in a personal relationship, which is more important, finding a solution or avoiding blame for the problem? Can't get financing for a new home or business due to credit? How you got there isn't important. What matters is finding an alternative or a way of improving your credit score.
You can't change the past. You can only learn from it and not let it rob you of a future. Identify a problem, solve the problem, and leave excuses to those who would rather lie to themselves than find success.
My challenge for you this week:
Find a way to fix lingering problems (without finding someone to blame).
When your next problem occurs in your relationship, career, or other area, write it down on a piece of paper.
Write down intentional action you must take to fix the problem.
Implement the action!
Frequently remind yourself that fore things to change, you must change.