Watching the circus in Congress and on the news shows is so depressing. I'm left with the impression that the most important thing is to put the finger on someone for whatever issue is served to the public by the Congress, or the Administration or the news media. The problem is that the blame behavior can be infectious. And it's a toxic behavior.
Have you ever been in any organization where a blamer was rewarded for pointing the finger and assigning blame? I haven't - and I hope I never will be. Blame is a behavior that stands in the way of problem solving and positive action to correct past problems. It can suck the air right out of a room, out of a meeting, out of a relationship. And the people practicing it often don't even see what they are doing - to themselves and to others. And they assume that everyone else is thinking the same as they are. They're wrong.
Given the world we live in right now, with all the negativity swirling around - it's time to really examine our behaviors, and work hard to be problem solvers. It's not easy, particularly when so many take the low road by blaming others, making sure they aren't blamed or by not being accountable for either their own actions or for actions to correct problems.
But rising above those negative behaviors to be a problem solver has its rewards. First, it's a top ten percent behavior. For someone who wants to multiply their success, being seen as a problem solver means being seen as a go - to person. It means being in control. Stuff happens, much of it beyond our reach. But how we choose to respond to stuff separates the successful from the not so successful. It creates the opportunity for accomplishment.
Here are steps to take to be part of that top ten percent - the problem solvers.
1 - Avoid the blamers. They're easy to spot; they attract other blamers; and rarely provide effective input directed to solutions
2 - Be conscious of your own behavior. It's easy to pick up the habit of blame. Being in the top ten percent can be a real challenge in many ways. Blame is sneaky, its can be hard to identify, and it's everywhere - particularly in times of crisis.. In some organizations blame may seem to be the way to survive. If that's true, move on.
3 - Always start a discussion with two questions: "What is the problem?" and "What can be done to fix the problem?" Do that in a meeting and watch the majority of people disappear. But the ones left standing are the key to success.
4 - After action to fix the problem is defined and implemented, find out what caused the problem in the first place. Often the reasons are not nearly as superficial as the blamers would like them to be. That analysis can result in not making the same mistake over and over. It's amazing how often seemingly intelligent, rational people don't take that step - and end up back in the same situation.
5 - Seek out positive things to help deflect the constant barrage of bad news. Effective problem solving needs a positive climate to be most effective. Ben Settle, a top copywriter, has sworn off the news. He says he feels better, works better, has more energy and makes better decisions since he stopped watching the " if it bleeds. it leads" news. If the news is a big part of your life, look for the good stuff and the media that provide it.
6 - Read and listen to high quality sources of information and possible solutions. Help your rational mind overcome the very human tendency to act on emotions without analysis. Emotion and intuition enter into any problem solution - very rarely will all the pieces of a puzzle be presented before action has to be taken. By seeking out sources of rational thought and process, snap decisions based purely on emotion can be avoided. And the learning involved adds to the body of knowledge and accomplishment that is your greatest security.
Choosing to be a problem solver can be a challenge. But like any other challenge, the rewards are worth it. Inventory your own behavior to ensure the blamers haven't pulled you down - and if they have, choose to multiply your success by rising above them.