Episode 48: The concept of implementing a no-blame culture
So, focus on the problem, focus on fixing the problem. Focus on finding solutions to the problem, irrespective of how the problem was created, or who created the problem.
In this episode of The Wize Guys Podcast, Brenton Ward and Ed Chan discussed what the “No Blame” culture is all about and how implementing it in your organization can be a total game-changer.
0:00 - Intro
0:35 - What is the 'No Blame' Culture?
2:05 - Reasons why you should create a friendly environment
2:56 - The importance of focusing on the problem
4:02 - How managing people affects work productivity
5:29 - The concept of maturity continuum from Dr. Stephen Covey's book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
5:59 - Leadership = Interdependence
7:22 - How to become a better leader
#wizementoring #noblame #culture
“I often see accounting firms blaming people for problems and then often they don't know they're doing it, it's just through frustration. So, it's either in their face or their body language or when there's a mistake made.” - Ed Chan
“One of the biggest mistakes that managers make is blaming people for mistakes. It's really difficult because of the mistakes made by it. There's a domino effect all the way down the line. It's extremely frustrating. However, your role as a manager is to get the best out of your people.” - Ed Chan
“If you can create an environment where it's open and solution focus and people are looking for solutions rather than looking for problems, then you're going to have an abundant environment rather than a scarcity environment.” - Ed Chan
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Brenton Ward: This concept of playing the ball and not the man has come from the no-blame culture that you instill in the firm in your firm and the terms that you've coached.
Ed Chan: Yeah, sure. Brenton. So what I might do is just explain the no-blame culture, and then we can then go to the slide.
I often see accounting firms blaming people for problems and then often they don't know they're doing it, it's just through frustration. So it's either in their face or their body language or when there's a mistake made. The problem with that kind of way of managing people is that in no way none of us were taught to manage, and we're all taught to do the work.
So we went to uni, we came out of uni, we got taught to do the work. Then somehow we ended up as a manager, and we're expected to manage people. But we were never taught to manage people and enhance we make myself included, and make a lot of mistakes in trying to progress our careers.
One of the biggest mistakes that managers make is blaming people for mistakes. It's really difficult because of the mistakes made by it. There's a domino effect all the way down the line. It's extremely frustrating. However, your role as a manager is to get the best out of your people. So it's about productivity and production is the only focus that you should be paying attention to. If you say something, or you use body language to upset someone, and they, and it affects their productivity, because they got upset, then really, you haven't done your job. Because your job is to get the most productivity out of the individual. And if that individual got upset and couldn't produce as much or went still home, then there's no productivity at all out of that person.
So the first thing is, if you create a blame culture, productivity will drop, and it will also create another environment, in which is, nobody will come to you with the problem. So they may know the problem, but they'll hide it because they might get blamed for it. And the problem with that, of course, is that, if you don't know that there's a problem, and you can't fix it, then it's going to create a bigger problem later on.
So you want to create a friendly environment, a safe environment, an environment where it's open, and the people want to come to you to talk to you and to get some help to fix the problem. The no-blame culture is extremely important. So that it goes from just your body language to your language, the language that you use to do everything as a leader. As a manager, you've got to have a real poker face. You've always got to be upbeat. And you never, never, never play the man. But always play the ball. So focus on the problem, focus on fixing the problem. Focus on finding solutions to the problem, irrespective of how the problem was created, or who created the problem.
Brenton Ward: Right.
Ed Chan: And it's not easy to do. I know it's very, very, very hard to do, especially since we're, y all people, we all have feelings and we have we react differently to different circumstances. But as a manager, you have to be very calm, and you have to focus on the facts. And you have to focus on finding solutions, and not blame.
If you can create an environment where it's open and solution focus and people are looking for solutions rather than looking for problems, then you're going to have an abundant environment rather than a scarcity environment. And you won't have this environment where it's very, very tense in the organization and it's stressful. And that's created by the managers because employees don't leave companies they leave their managers.
Brenton Ward: And often really important one that we hear that line here, in there, but I mean, to when you boil it down to the culture that's created internally, it definitely is all around how we manage and how we lead our team. People don't leave companies, they leave their managers.
Ed Chan: Yes, and the same person can do so well under manager A, and really badly under manager B, and it's the same person. And yet, there's so much more productivity on the eight and under B, and the only difference is the way the manager is managing the individual. And yet, I'll come back to what I said earlier, we come out of uni, we get experienced during the work, and then some of us are put into a management role. We've never been taught how to manage. And yet, this is the area that gets the most, the most scalability, the most leverage, and the most productivity is how to manage your people, and your people in our industry fall under the cost of goods sold.
If you look at all your costs, in an organization, the biggest cost is your cost of goods sold. That's our people. So it's extremely important that we manage them well because if you're buying some commodity to sell you're buying. If you're selling calculators that you buy for $2, it's going to cost you $2. But our cost of goods sold is based on how productive our people are. In a situation where you're the calculator, you're buying. One day cost you $2. The next day cost you $3. Then the next day costs you $1.50 it depending on how productive that individual is, how well-led they are, or how well they're being empowered to do the work and how productive they are. So it's such an important area that a lot of accounting firms don't, don't put much emphasis on it. Another put the training and the time into the leaders into the manager.
Brenton Ward: Just on that point, and one of the things we wanted to point out, there's quite an in-depth video, but we'll touch on the concept itself here. As everyone can see, on the left-hand side here, this is what's called the maturity continuum, which is straight from Dr. Stephen Covey's book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. So you can see the seven habits listed there.
One of the things we do point out here is a lot of this comes down to becoming a better leader. If we don't focus on our private victories and on bettering ourselves as a leader, we're not going to be able to move through that continuum to a point where we can have those public victories and we can work with others to form that into interdependence, where you say that synergizing, with other people that one plus one equals five, can you possibly touch on that journey a little bit for us?
Ed Chan: Yes, absolutely.
It comes back to the ideal team structure to get complementary skills working together, and you'll get that synergy, you'll get that one plus one is five. It starts with this, Dr. Steven Covey's slide here in an at the bottom that he can see, you can see it's called, a dependence.
Dependence is when you're a junior, you're learning the job. You're dependent on everybody around you, to teach you how to do things. And so you've got to master that first. So there's a journey that you go through. And the one in the middle is called independence. So that once you're, once you've learned how to do something, then you're independent of anybody else that's around you.
But leadership is really about interdependence is the third level up. And once you get to interdependence, it's, that's when you're a true leader. And leadership is about a public victory. Yes. It's also about understanding the people around you. The fundamental to that is some of those things that he's got in there seek to understand before being understood, and seeing it from the point of view of the people that you're leading, not from your own point of view. And leaders are very, very good at that. Because they have to lead people and the best way to get the best out of people is to understand what buttons to press with them. Not everyone can do that. Most people see things from their own point of view. And they do things to it's called self-interest if you like most people live on self-interest. That's below the interdependence level.
If you want to be a really good manager, you're going to transition from independence to interdependence. Independence is where you're working on your own and you're quite happy. You're quite experienced and quite experienced working on your own. But that's not leadership is interdependence where you're understanding the people around you and you're bringing them with you and taking them with you on the journey.