Someone to Blame

I was in IT’s All Hands Meeting. Our location hosted a video conferencing with all other offices. The first presenter was logged in to the podium computer, with the screen shared for everyone to see. When she finished, she reflexively logged off the machine. I heard a couple of nerds speak up to try and stop her, but it was too late. They sighed almost in unison, and I soon realized why…

“No big deal,” I thought. “That was sloppy, but the next presenter will just log in and we’ll be up and running in no time. It’ll be quick, especially since my IT guys set up this stuff.” Despite my hopes, the phrase “Preparing your desktop” hauntingly displayed in the center of the giant screen for what felt like an eternity.

During the minutes of dead air in the IT-wide meeting, two thoughts flooded the room:

  1. IT set up this login process, and all settings and delays in login time are their own fault. How embarrassing!
  2. I wonder how much money is being wasted every minute with a hundred idle employees across several locations?!

The podium computer finally logged in after a full NINE MINUTES of silent unproductivity to do so.

My rage flared like a roaring fire. I angrily typed a feisty email.

Leadership Vacuum Top Tip

It’s more satisfying to type angrily on a normal keyboard. iPads don’t convey nearly enough angry sounds.

This is what I sent to everyone:

IT Group,
What happened today was a disgrace to all of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing whatever caused such long login times. You obviously knew about this problem, yet it remains unsolved.

More importantly, though, I will find out exactly who is to blame for this.

W. Albert Jameson, IV

Blame must be assigned to someone to make a problem go away. Some poor sap will be held responsible for everyone’s collective incompetence, but it’s definitely not my fault!

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
“Why” matters, not “who.” Assigning blame won’t fix anything. Instead of pointing fingers, determine the root of the problem and solve it and prevent future problems entirely. Focus on the source of the issue, not the face.
  • Joseph Dissmeyer

    W. Albert,
    This article may help you find the root of the IT problem:


    • Oh. Good to know. It definitely seems your solution will fix IT’s problem. Though I appreciate your zeal, it still doesn’t help me with the bigger problem — who to blame it on!

      • Joseph Dissmeyer

        Hmm… where to place the blame…. that is a good one.