The Blame Game and How to Dodge Responsibility

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Its getting to that time of the year when many Kenyan Businesses and similar organizations are either wrapping up, or just diving into their annual reviews, AGMs, end year audits. One thing that’s really ground my gears, in the handful of such reviews I’ve been involved in is the culture of the blame game.

failure (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Whether it is a business,  a charity or an NGO (but strangely enough not political parties in Kenya) or some other institution there is bound to be somebody somewhere who has perfected the fine art of not being to blame for the failure of that thing that they were expressly put in charge of.

 Why is it that folk are so keen to see to it that, whenever something is not done right some other bugger has to carry the blame? Is it a sign of weakness to take full responsibility for that 20% or 80% that flopped? Is it so hard to say, I dropped the ball?

Sometimes we try to pass the buck to a superior. For example they might say the regional headquarters put me in a situation where I was doomed to fail. Or headquarters refused to make it a walk in the park for us so we got defeated by what is actually a fair straight forward challenge

 Maybe we might blame a co-worker/team member. We didn’t reach the number of schools we wanted this because Kamau from dissemination (who is co-incidentally absent from the meeting with an apology) is letting us down.

Sometimes we blame something inanimate like the weather, or traffic, or just the existence 9of some geographical feature in a particular place for our failure. Who would a thought it rains some days out of the year?

Sometimes I get the impression that the whole point of some of the AGM/end year review/audit is to find out who is this year’s scape goat.  Forget about learning from the past, forget about learning from mistakes. Take the blame for one thing, and you’ll likely have opened a flood gate to take the blame for everything else.

If we are so bothered with being responsible for failure, and we put in the amount of creativity that comes into escaping the blame into preventing failure? In any case how are we supposed to become better workers or administrators, or project implementers if we refuse to accept that the way we do things might not be working, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of our own short comings?

To err is human after all. Is that not the whole point of having whatever kind of annual review that might be in place to learn from the year gone by and become better?

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