Don’t Punish Everyone For One Person’s Mistake

There are plenty of connections to be made here for parents, legislators, regulators, friends, neighbors, managers and of course business people of all kinds.

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4 Responses to “Don’t Punish Everyone For One Person’s Mistake”

  1. Sean Crawford

    Something similar happens at some agencies according to psychologist Herbert Lovett. A mistake by one will cause new red tape for all such as a report checklist form. The best workers, facing such control through red tape, will quit, which lowers the average, which leads to more mistakes.

    My own agency avoids such temptation to punish all by being a “problem solving agency” meaning we will educate an offender before we take the easy way out of punishment. There is no “permanent record” for keeping score of small offences.

    Our CEO must fill out any new form before it becomes mandatory.

    When the government wanted to control us by having us send out a monthly report to say there had been no abuse of clients, my CEO got them to change it:Now we only have to fill out a report if there has been abuse during that month.

    I could never work at a high control low trust company.

  2. Per Rosing Mogensen

    I agree with the sentiment, but is quite difficult to apply in many cases, because it works both ways.

    Customer’s punish all companies, organizations, content providers, etc too, for one mistake.

    Having worked in technical support for over a decade I have seen it coming from all sides at the same time, customers, managers, and peers all blaming you for something someone else did.

    In time you just get fed up and give up, and then you yourself blame everyone for anything, because it appears to save you a ton of energy otherwise wasted on the frustrating work required to work out any hard choice, such as firewall/antivirus/user rights administration done right, it’s just so much easier to say people don’t know what they are doing and block everything non-essential.

    We all do this from time to time, the trouble seems to me to be that for some it becomes habit, and standard procedure, as it always appears to save time and resources, while the costs are hidden and it takes a lot of clever thinking to figure out how to even begin on a method to measure the effect.

    Personally I think I loose interest in the work once I hit that “I shouldn’t have to deal with this” point. Fortunately I seem to have been able recover from this so far, by stumbling on the odd case that caught my curiosity, which made it natural to get fully involved in the current problem, rather than getting inhibited by the past, the impression of the person, or concern about the effort involved.

    When you get those “in the zone” tasks, responsibility, blame, and punishment, and even reward, becomes irrelevant and you tend to get back on the horse and enjoy providing any service required, and setbacks/resistance causes by others just become challenges to conquer.



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