How to Unplug the Discover Blame App: Support Strengths!

The Discover Blame App loops these messages: "He started it!" "It's all her fault!" "We have to root out the cause of our trouble." "Tell me the history of this problem." "If you just wouldn't do this and this, and this, we'd be okay." "My business (or my children) keep me too busy to pursue what I would like."

The Discover Blame App focuses the entire system on problems over goals, the past over the future, and weaknesses over strengths. The weakest part becomes the best the whole system can do at the moment. Faultfinding and blame limits the field of available responses and resources.

The Discover Blame App may direct the blame externally and preclude drawing on one's own resources and responses while waiting for other people or circumstances to get right. Or the Discover Blame App may direct the blame internally and distract from the real discovery, "What do I really want?"

To unplug the Discover Blame App, support strengths! I can talk about and remind myself of my own strengths first. Then seek out and talk up the strengths in the system. Make adventure and discovery of strengths the expected attitude. Let the answer to "What do I really want?" reflect the present strengths.

I can support strengths by acclaiming them, rewarding them, educating or training them, discovering them undeveloped, giving them opportunity, and refusing to turn my blame on them. Rather than blame, I can look for resources like apology, forgiveness, responsibility, and communication.

To disable the sixth app that powers systemic anxiety, support strengths. One fun way to do this is to complete an assessment of strengths and invite the whole system to participate in the same assessment. Then don't fail to follow through to listen to each other share the learnings.

Some of the ideas in this article came from: Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. New York: Seabury Books, 1999, 2007.

Copyright 2015 Wilma Zalabak