Phillip Crosby, a leader in the area of Quality, reminded us that 80% of all quality issues were the direct result of management decisions. He liked to confront managers with this statistic. I have come to appreciate this statistic for a simple reason. Life reminds me that the process of making others scapegoats for decisions and choices I make does not mean that reality changes. When I look at the events in my life and I ask “why”, there are black and while realities. I can look at others, thinking that it is their fault but the facts remain constant. My decisions have consequences. My choices have outcomes.
I am watching this story play out with some quality indicators. Some are rushing to draw conclusions on who is responsible for the outcomes. The starting point is that management is strong while staff members are weak. If only they understood, we would be ok.
There is a cautionary reminder that keeps replaying in my head; “Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked.” (Psalm 37.1) Just because other managers think they are doing well, do not follow their lead. Ask the “why” question. Seek to understand the context and the source, even if it means looking in the mirror. Each time I try this I find my peers and myself in the frame, even as we try to push the blame on others.
There are three mantras I hold onto as I try to steer clear of this natural response.
We are all in this together, regardless of our rank, standing, or role. We are connected.
Bad things can and will happen. Asking why, seeking to understand the context and rationale, opens a door to an opportunity to do something better.
Life is a process not a destination. It is important to learn, grow, and reach towards something better.
Along the way, I am learning to let go of the natural ways of responding. We live in a dangerous world. Making things better is a collective challenge that demands our best.