News and Insights

Let’s Play The Blame Game

Raise your hand if you’ve been playing “The Blame Game” since March 2020?  We are now three years since the start of the pandemic.  Three years ago this week we were setting up home offices at RKCA “for a few weeks” and organizing virtual team happy hours to keep the team engaged.  And…it was only going to be until April and then we’d definitely be back. When things started to get more serious related to the pandemic and how much time we’d end up at home, for many of us, myself included and especially, it was time to play The Blame Game.   Working through a transaction that might get put on hold due to uncertainty?  Blame the pandemic. Issue with getting on a Zoom? Well the internet is slow because everyone in my house is on a device…because of the pandemic.  How do we keep our team and our clients engaged and being mindful of what is happening right now…that would be easier if not for this…pandemic.

Three years later, we have kept the “COVID Pandemic” spot on our Blame Game Bingo board.  We added on “supply chain” and “war in Ukraine” recently. And over the last few weeks we have added in “Silicon Valley Bank.” Is anyone else running out of space on their board?  If you have “2008 financial crisis” you may want to remove that one to free up space…

This is human nature to blame. It bleeds into our personal and professional lives everyday: I was late to the office because of traffic and also the rain….I was a week late getting my monthly RKCA Insights article to Compliance for review because I’ve had sick kids at home and haven’t been sleeping.  

For illustrative purposes, if you’re a business owner perhaps you’re saying “multiples in our market are going down and so will our valuation, it’s a market problem” or “I shared with a prospect some of our product samples and they took them and gave them to a competitor to copy and compete with us.”

Brene Brown, the author and researcher, was once quoted as saying that “Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain.  It has an inverse relationship with accountability.”1 While she is a leadership researcher, I believe her quote was part of a series on mindfulness and therapy.  The point is still valid to a business owner and professional.  Who here reading this received PPP money into their business accounts and then felt pain and discomfort from the funding and blamed the government for an influx of cash? No one! There was no pain or discomfort but a relief.

Operating a business is frenetic, scary, and very messy.  There really is no Blame Game Bingo board big enough for everything you’ll deal with on a daily basis.  

Rather than playing the game, what if you chose to have agency and accountability over yourself and your business instead?  If you stop blaming and chose to move the locus of control back to yourself and your business, and chose to have agency, to be responsible for the experience, not the external world, what would happen?  It’s my opinion you’d be more energized and feel better and make improvements that you otherwise wouldn’t have.

What if instead of saying that multiples are down and that is impacting your valuation, you said “what can I be doing inside my own business every day to ensure the highest valuation when I’m ready to sell and in control of timing?”  If you can’t control that competitor from stealing your product and competing, what if you got an IP attorney and started to patent your product to protect from that ever happening?  You can’t control a competitor from stealing but you can be defensive.

Three years later, I’m tired of The Blame Game.  It sure is easy to play and it sure helps discharge some of that pain and discomfort, if only for a little bit. I cannot control the external world or its impact on our business, our clients, my personal life and my commute to work but I can control and have agency over me and what I’m responsible for.

There will be another      (fill in the blank)       for The Blame Game Bingo board in 2023.   My advice is between now and when that happens, toss your board out.



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