apprenticeI gave up watching the Apprentice a couple of years ago. I love the fact that it has brought some basic business concepts to the general public, but the use of the blame game by the contestants and by Lord Sugar turns me off.

I get that it is a competition and it might be good telly but it is a poor example of how to behave in order to succeed in business. Is this really a cross section of our business community?  A bunch of aggressively self-opinionated bullies who bad-mouth people behind their back and point the finger at the slightest provocation. 

The reason why I find blame so distasteful is that it is a waste of energy.

  • Rather than trying to find out the true cause of what went wrong and learning from it, people spend their time pointing fingers and shifting blame, so lessons are lost.
  • Rather than creating an atmosphere of challenge and free thought, people become defensive and new ideas never suface.
  • Instead of allowing some of the less forceful and confident people to flourish, it becomes a landscape for the loud-mouthed and the bullies.

So, instead of pointing fingers, wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear someone say “yep, my fault, I should have done so-and-so, sorry, I’ll learn from this”. People owning up to mistakes impress me so much more than people who try to push the fault onto others.

This behaviour is endemic. Football managers blaming referees for losing points because they know they cannot say “I made a tactical error” and still keep their job. Politicians resisting the call to resign in the face of a major error of judgement, desperately trying to shift the blame onto others. I assume it must be the easy option, the emotional one rather than the smart, logical, well thought-out one.

From my other blogs, you will know that I believe this behaviour starts at the top. Experience has taught me this. So, Mr CEO or Mr MD, instead of blaming people for errors, look inwards to see what you could have done better to prevent the problem. Instead of the emotion of a blame culture, I would always prefer the logic of a learning culture.