When something goes wrong, human nature is such that we immediately ask, “Who is to blame?” Whether it is political, legal, at home or at work the natural tendency is to look at the people component and attribute responsibility.
In his book The New Agreements in the Workplace, David Dibble builds on the original Four Agreements by his mentor Don Miguel Ruiz. Dibble speaks about “Shifting your Systems” and by this he is alluding to the fact that we should first look at our processes before attributing blame on people because, more often than not, it plays a much bigger role with what is actually happening.
What do we mean be processes or systems? It really is the context or environment and might best be illustrated using a classic work example when it comes to perceived poor performance. The tendency is to label the individual as being lazy, non committal, not motivated, doesn’t care and so on. But what if you knew that this person had received poor training in the first place, management was fear based and was receiving minimum wage but expected to do the work of two people, would your perception change? Of course it would, but without knowledge of these processes, or absence thereof, you naturally make assumptions.
This happens all the time. We get angry when people jump lines, when somebody is appears reckless on the road, when kids are misbehaving. In fact Stephen Covey tells the great story about the man on the subway train just staring out the window while his three very young kids misbehaved, all to the extreme irate of other passengers. When confronted about it the man apologized and calmly explained that they were just coming away from their mother’s funeral; enough said.
By understanding the processes, we get the context for what we are evaluating and, most importantly, we stop making assumptions. Whether you operate as an entrepreneur, a manger or a contributor, below are some processes that if in place will go along way to ensuring your success.
1. Information Systems that support good decision making
2. Good Management Practices that eliminates fear
3. Fair Pay and Benefits that are in line with expectations
4. Health and Safety policies that make people feel secure
5. Collaborative colleagues that create a positive place of work