Do you remember that song by Howard Jones from back in the 1980’s? It was built off the popular phrase of the time, “Just because I’m on a diet doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu” as it pertained to individuals in committed relationships.

Moving forward about 30+ years, finding blame is something that everyone tries to do. My wife’s plane sat on the tarmac for two hours.  The reason? The ground crew doesn’t come out when it’s raining. Maybe it’s because that’s a benefit they enjoy as a part of their union contract. Blame it on the rain.

Then she waited for her luggage for an hour after landing. Blame the airport for only hiring a skeleton crew after 9 PM on a Sunday night whether or not planes are delayed. Blame the conveyor belt system that takes baggage on an 8 mile trip, and then, when the bags are finally in, they’re wet. Blame it on the rain.

Blame is also rampant in an election year. Blame the current federal representatives for passing legislation that isn’t really “affordable,” or for not selecting a Supreme Court Justice. Leaders can blame party politics, or perhaps the weather delayed them from traveling to Washington or a State capital to cast a vote on pending legislation. Blame it on the rain.

The point isn’t that we need to find who or what to blame. The point isn’t that people need to take responsibility, because even if they do, as well as the consequences that accompany it, the problem could still be present. Restitution isn’t necessarily restoration.

The point IS that in a systems thinking mindset, trying to discover one person, place or thing to blame is pointless and oftentimes a waste of energy simply because no “one” ever is to blame. There are many reasons – usually systemic ones – that are responsible for problems. This is why there are no “silver bullet” solutions to any concerns, and any type of proffered singular solution will have collateral damage.  Change one element of the system…and EVERYTHING changes.

It doesn’t help matters that those who may find solutions to assuage difficulties call them “steps,” or offer them in a numbered list. The inference is that “steps” can be taken one at a time, while numbered lists are associated with actions that are “most important” to “least important.”  If you don’t get through all the steps, that’s thought to be permissible, because you’ve started with the most important, or at least have taken the first step.  Unfortunately, that may not be how the plan was intended to be implemented.  ALL the steps need to be completed, and, more than likely, needed to be implemented at the same time.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to graphically represent that approach in a written document.  Even if there are no numbers associated with bullet points, those that are simply listed first will likely be considered to be the “first and foremost” or the “most important” step.

In many cases, the steps or list items create a system, which means that “all” the items recommended must be instituted “as a system” to achieve maximum effectiveness toward the concern’s correction.

“Blame It On the Rain” was a song, too…by Milli Vanilli.  Both provide exemplars of “unacceptable” behavior.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2012-2016