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Guilty Until Proven Innocent*

Blamestorming is a creative way to avoid accountability by placing the blame on an unsuspecting person or even a whole department. Start by looking for indirect linkages to seemingly uninvolved parties, and generate a list of those parties. Don't dampen the creativity; remember to suspend judgment until all possible guilty parties are identified. Then craft a plausible chain of cause and effect for each potential culprit using hard-to-deny facts like: "she once walked past this process when it was screwed up and didn't stop to fix it." Pick the most compelling story, and formalize the choice by adding that party to a Cause and Effect (Fishbone) Diagram. Once the blame is on paper, it's harder to deny!

And remember, a good problem is hard to find, so be hard on the people not on the problem.!

*While not an authentic group problem-solving tool or actual Lean Six Sigma term, blamestorming has been observed in most organizations at one time or another. Sound the warning siren if you spot a blamestorm brewing!

See Also

Excerpted from the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course