I recently re-read a booklet entitled Culture Shift by Dr. Price Pritchett. One chapter was right to the point, in my view, concerning a common cultural characteristic in many organizations. Still, it is especially prevalent in those where rapid change is the norm … like a church during a pandemic. The chapter is entitled, Taking Personal Responsibility for Fixing Things.
The local church is an environment that has certainly experienced rapid change, thanks to the pandemic. Dr. Pritchett writes that such environments are like a “breeder reactor for problems.” In such an environment, as problems crop up, it is easy to blame others. “Pointing the fingers becomes the most popular form of exercise.” But blaming others does not solve problems. It merely creates a culture of blame.
Blaming others, we may think, diverts attention from us. It makes us feel good, perhaps even “high and mighty” at times. “I’m intelligent! I recognize problems and have great insight into finding who’s at fault,” we say. All this does, however, is waste time and energy that could be spent on solving the problem. Pointing the finger at someone does nothing to solve the problem. And the person blamed usually becomes defensive, perhaps even hostile.
Identifying problems is important in our culture. But identifying the problem is not the same as placing blame. When we find problems, we must work together to find solutions. I especially urge anyone in a leadership position to avoid finger-pointing. It doesn’t shift the blame to others; it merely identifies us as those who are unwilling to do the hard work to solve problems.