Blaming less, learning more

Matthew Syed has a powerful article in The Guardian highlighting the toxic effects of blame on organisations. A bureaucratic over-reaction to errors is hugely counter-productive. Too much rigidity in pursuit of safety creates greater danger. Beware the “fundamental attribution error” which causes us to see bad people and overlook the stressful poorly designed context in which they are working.

If we panic and lose our faith in people we create structures than actually prevent them from doing their best work. Years ago, I learnt fromĀ Chris Corrigan to ask: what kind of people are we designing this meeting for? If we design for smart, caring, intelligent people, those are the kind who are likely to turn up. If we design on the assumption they will be lazy and disruptive, then we’ll probably create the very meeting we most fear.


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