The Concept of Reality and How it Perpetuates the Blame Culture

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The Concept of Reality and How it Perpetuates the Blame Culture

Posted by: Virendra Singh Rathore
Category: Organizational Culture Change
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What seems like reality to you is only your reality! It is not everybody’s reality.

Reality is nothing but your version of the world that you are living in. And the person standing right next to you, can or most likely will have an entirely different version of the same world.

Truth is subjective. Facts are universal.

The same also applies to the concept of truth. Truth is usually built from the facts that are available. It might be different for different people. That is why facts and data are universal while the truth is simply just not.

These statements seem unrelated to the blame culture to you, don’t they? Before we get into the blame culture, let’s take a look at something that every human being has called the Reticular Activating System. After all, nothing truly makes sense without science backing it up.

What exactly is the Reticular Activating System (RAS)? And what does it do?
Let’s look at it this way. You have just bought a brand new phone, the one that everyone is talking about. And all of a sudden you start spotting other people who have the same phone. Why?

That is what the RAS does. It pulls out information from your brain stored in form memories and throws them at you. It is triggered by the human senses. But it has no intelligence to it. If it sees a phone that looks similar to your phone lying around somewhere, it can throw you a memory of your phone but it cannot tell you if that specific phone is yours or not. It is up to you to apply your intelligence to figure out if it really is your phone lying there.

The RAS is essential a center that has the information and nothing more. What you do with the information defines what you contribute to the environment around you at work.

Reality and the blame culture
As you grow up, you begin to associate certain memories with certain emotions. This becomes your preset or the control center for all your assumptions about how things should be and what is right or wrong. These preset define reality to you. And this is also why reality is different for everybody. Everyone has their own set of presets that define reality to them. The assumption that your reality is every one’s reality is where the problem arises from.

The RAS has certain presets in your mind already. As far as you are concerned, certain things are right and certain things are not. These assumptions lead you to believe that the person that you are communicating with must also see things in a similar manner. That sets an expectation. When an expectation is not met, it is human nature to show anger and disappointment accompanied by the need to be right. The need to be right dictates that someone else has to be wrong. So begins the finger pointing. This is the “lizard brain’s way” of dealing with a situation that makes it uncomfortable. That is where the culture of blame takes it roots and begins spreads its wings.

How does the blame culture perpetuate
The fact is that people have the tendency to, one protects themselves and two live up to what is expected from them. So when a finger is pointed at someone, his or her RAS will look for ways to say that they were right and their finger will point to another direction and thus the games begin. Also, if one person is repeatedly told that is all that is expected from them, in this case errors, he or she will feel like their is no need to do anything right as it really does not matter. Once this pattern repeats a few times, the blame culture becomes a part of the organization.

How do you put on end to the blame culture
Culture change begins and ends with the people who are a part of it. It takes every single individual to make an effort towards it. The best way to combat blame culture is by training every individual to understand what the RAS is and how it is influencing their behaviour. This moves them towards elevating the way they think and put away the habit of finger pointing. The result is a no blame zone.

When the blame culture is removed, you have a culture of productivity and objectivity. That is where the results are generated. As an organization, you need to set practices that encourage this kind of an environment. As an employee, it is your duty to ensure that you ingrain objective orientation, understanding, and acceptance of dissimilarities.

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Author: Virendra Singh Rathore

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