Saturday, 4 February 2012
There is a saying: “to err is human; to forgive, divine”.
Most of us are not divine, hence the reason why there is not a lot of forgiveness in the world.
A manager I worked for quite a few years ago, used to insist that the work environment was “not a blame culture”.
But it is, and it always will be.
I actually used that quote to the manager in question.
She said “It’s YOUR fault, Dave.”
And I said “Yes – it is. I made a mistake. To err is human; to forgive, divine. So if you forgive me, that makes you a Goddess!”
I think she thought I was flirting with her (I probably was – apparently I do this quite a lot: read about it here ).
Make a mistake and you will be pounced upon and blamed. You will be a scapegoat, depending, of course, on the nature of the mistake.
I have watched this happen repeatedly within the working environment for all of my working life and the hypocrisy and arrogance that walks hand in hand with finding a scapegoat is breathtakingly obvious to me – yet, unbelievably, missed by a lot of people.
We see it every day in the news and in life.
People are unwilling to admit to making mistakes.
Let me start a trend here:
I make mistakes.
I have always made mistakes.
I will continue to make mistakes.
It is not because I am crap at everything I do.
It is not because I am a useless good-for-nothing buffoon.
It is not because I am stupid.
It is not because I am careless.
It is because I am a human being.
Everybody makes mistakes, even those who claim not to make mistakes and see themselves as perfect human beings.
These people are not perfect – they are arrogant and deluded.
We strive for perfection these days. When I was a young man, we seemed to be able to cope with people failing at something. These days it is totally different – particularly in business.
I’ve joked about the overuse of the word “excellence” before (read about it here ) but the essence of that post is serious.
We have to appear to be flawless in every aspect of our work, these days. Whatever you do, it has to be perfect. If something goes wrong then the hunt begins; the hunt for the scapegoat.
I’ve seen this many times and not just in my line of business. The best example is “The Apprentice” where the hunt for scapegoat is played out in front of an audience who love the smell of blood. The difference here is that the victims will never, ever admit to the so-called mistake that led to failure.
Why? Because they think they are perfect; they think that they are divine.
They are not – they are human, with all of the flaws that entails. This clip sums up exactly what I mean:
It illustrates how people claim to be better than they are and use the term “idiot” when referring to mistakes that they themselves invariably make.
By this standard, I am an idiot.
But I know different – I am human.
I make mistakes.
Everybody does, including you, dear reader. Sorry for that bombshell – but it’s true.
Ultimately, the global culture now seems to be driven by this striving for excellence and if you cannot convince people that you truly are excellent then you are made a scapegoat and seen as a failure.
I think that it is about time things changed.
If people admit, to me, that they made a mistake I am much more likely to think better of them than if they deny it or blame it on somebody else.
Ultimately, this is why I like “The Apprentice” because it takes a bunch of people who think that they are excellent, think that they never make mistakes and are exposed as being just as flawed as the rest of us mere mortals.
What I will say is this; if you make mistakes, and admit them, then you are, in my view, a much better person than somebody who will sit there and watch others take the blame for their mistakes.
Sadly, I don’t have anybody to blame for this blog post and if there are mistakes in it then they are all my fault.
But of course their wil bee no missteaks at hall. Why? Becos I am NOT youman – I am deevine.
Or maybe I'm just a scapegoat.