The old proverb says, “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” How true is that? One thing about our culture that drives me absolutely crazy is the rapid pace at which people attempt to flee blame. Look no further than the political arena for evidence of this. These guys steal, cheat, lie, commit adultery and betray our trust almost daily, yet nobody is at fault. They put their spin-meisters on the issue and create a bunch of excuses as to why “it” happened.
The reality is that we are all going to fail at some point in time, so my question to you is which person are you when failure happens? Are you a Captain Teflon-type superhero? This person has the ability to deflect any failure no matter how bad the mistake, always having an excuse at the ready. It could be the weather; the economy; the timing, which is never right; the lack of execution from the service provider you hired; or Jim, the guy in operations who couldn’t execute your brilliant plan. Maybe they are even willing to blame their own team for a bad result. I’m not a psychologist, but I believe fear drives this behavior. Captain Teflon doesn’t want to look bad, he’s afraid of the consequences of his mistake and what others are going to think of him. Or, it could just be a HUGE but fragile ego he hides behind, which doesn’t allow him to admit fault.
You also have the other side of blame deflection with the Accountable Leader. This is the person that is comfortable taking risks, measures the downside to each decision and advances regardless of the consequence because the upside of the situation says the risk is worth the reward. If it fails, this person sucks it up and admits fault. He or she analyzes what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again, fixes the problem that was created, and starts work on the next big idea. These people even accept full responsibility for the mistakes of their team because, at the end of the day, it all starts and stops with them. The weird thing about this kind of person is that it is often hard to catch them doing something right because, most often, they will deflect praise to someone they work with.
So which one are you? If you took a poll of five people that work for you or with you, what would they say? Life is too short to be Captain Teflon. Alexander Pope says, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” If you are working hard and adding enough value in your daily life, you will have more than enough capital built up to sustain rough weather. Remember, each and every failure gets you closer to success, so fail big!
What am I missing here? What are you thinking?
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.