People are the greatest resource any organization has, but too often agencies don’t realize the full potential of the people who work for them. Perhaps they don’t know about a staff member’s prior knowledge or experience, or they’ve assigned him or her to particular role and close off their input to the overall process.
This is not only a terrible way to treat people, but it can be the doom of an organization. For Arizona to truly transform and develop a real culture of continuous improvement, we must unleash the creative, problem solving potential of every employee. Everyone contributes to making sure our vital mission succeeds.
Failure to harness the full talent and energy of our staff is always compounded when we blame people for things that go wrong. With Lean, we know that 85 to 95 percent of problems are found in the process, not the people who actually do the work. So when we blame people, we not only wrong them, but we kid ourselves about what really is the problem. To fix the problem, we must figure out the real root cause, adjust our process, and not blame people.
Blame is different than holding people accountable. We do want to hold ourselves and others accountable. The difference between the two may appear to be subtle but it’s actually vast …
Blame is always wasteful because it’s about pointing fingers and finding fault with an intent to punish…blame is NOT about resolving the problem. Blame is usually personal rather than practical.
Accountability, on the other hand, is the willingness to assign or accept responsibility based on the role we played in problem. And the role we played is key to resolving and learning from the problem’s resolution.
blame is about the person, accountability is about the person’s role in the system
blame seeks to punish, accountability seeks to learn or teach
blame is always personal, accountability is always practical
So we do expect our managers and employees to hold themselves and each other accountable;
To accept responsibility for mistakes and failures;
To be honest with ourselves and others;
To have the courage to own both our successes and our failures;
And most importantly, to learn from our mistakes and improve.