August 2, 2004
News & Opinion: 10 Question Quiz
For each question, answer 'YES' or 'NO'.
- Do people refer to they or them when talking about management or other departments? (ie, They wont let us . . ., They keep us in the dark . . ., They spend all the money, but we do all the work, etc.)
- Are people often worried about covering their backsides (CYA) with documentation, approvals, etc.? (ie, I called him with the information, but also wrote him a memo for CYA purposes.)
- Do employees feel like victims of management? Do they talk and act like theyre helpless and have no control?
- Do some individuals take all the credit for other peoples ideas or for group accomplishments?
- Are people quick to point out how theyre not at fault when something goes wrong?
- Do you frequently hear people whining and complaining about all the many reasons why they cant do what needs to be done?
- Do you hear people say Thats not my job?
- Do supervisors and managers often express frustration
about employees not taking initiative?
- Are people pointing out and complaining about problems all the time, but rarely proposing solutions?
- Do people hide behind policies and procedures, job descriptions, employee handbooks, etc. when justifying why they cant do certain things?
LOWEST SCORE: If you answered NO to all ten of these questions, Congratulations! You work in an organization with a high level of personal accountability. Managers and employees alike take responsibility for initiating ideas and resolving problems when they occur.
LOW SCORE: If you answered YES to three or fewer of these questions, your organization is in pretty good shape. In general, most people feel accountable and take responsibility for improving organizational performance. Only occasionally does the Blame Game occur.
MODERATE SCORE: If you answered YES on four to six of these questions, you have cause for concern. Employees are quick to point fingers of blame, and slow to accept their responsibility for finding solutions. There is probably a fairly high level of fear present, and people are punished for taking initiative outside their job descriptions, or for bending the rules. Some people really feel like victims.
HIGH SCORE: If you answered YES to seven or more of these questions, your organization has reached the Major Leagues of playing the Blame Game! Employees feel like victims of management; management feels like victims because employees wont take initiative; and everyone is expending a great deal of energy blaming everyone else. Your organization has some serious work ahead, if you wish to establish a culture of accountability.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.