I was out front sipping my coffee as the sun rose over Gilbert, Arizona, the city I’ve called home for 25 years. Oblivious to the chaos going on inside my house, I was busy taking early morning pictures and videos of our 2015 Nissan Armada, getting ready to put Blue Thunder (that’s her name) up for sale.
As I walked in the house I immediately heard the commotion and saw a sea of bath water in the hallway, it was like a scene from Titanic. Ok, although perhaps in the moment it felt like that, I might be a bit over dramatic. It was more like a scene from a bad TV commercial, you know the kind, where the unsuspecting family is watching TV, the kids are playing, while the bath overflows into the living room. Yeah, that kind of TV commercial.
It was like that, except for one thing. Time didn’t freeze, a magic cleanup crew from SERVPRO* didn’t walk into my house, move us aside, clean up the mess, and then put things right back the way they were. No, it was chaos. Everyone running for towels. The tension was palpable. If there was a towel that was dry, it was immediately put to use to start soaking up the overflow of the bathtub. My youngest son, Owen, was sleepwalking. He walked into the bathroom and turned on the bathtub. We discovered him standing there with the water flowing over the edge of the tub like Niagara Falls… except this was in our upstairs hall bathroom. Beyond the cascade torrent of water a peaceful lazy river migrated out of the bathroom and into the hallway.
With a family of seven, it was all hands on deck in an attempt to mitigate the damage. In the midst of soaking up the lake in our home, the finger-pointing began. My other four children were angry with Owen and let him know that this was his fault. The problem is, he already knew it was his fault. It felt like i was standing in the middle of a Captain Obvious commercial.
This wasn’t something he had set out to do with intent, it wasn’t something he had planned mischievously, it was an accident. Finger-pointing didn’t help solve the problem, all it did was point out the obvious. There was a problem.
Often times this is how businesses run, when something goes wrong, finger-pointing is the default response.
In a healthy work environment the blame game should never be played, finger-pointing shouldn’t happen, personal ownership and accountability should be the norm.
In my company, Ad Zombies, we foster an environment that problem solves rather than finger points, we address our challenges as a team, we work on solutions together. This accomplishes several things, all of them positive.
Positive thing number one: Everyone on the team does their part to help us problem solve. All answers are welcome and I don’t get the win by default because I’m the CEO. That’s called empowerment.
Positive thing number two: No one feels ridiculed, blamed, or guilted.
Positive thing number three: The culture that develops from this behavior is healthy, sustainable, and attracts great talent long-term.
So, next time someone in your business pulls an Owen, perhaps the rest of your team should grab the towels. And remember, It Could Always Be Worse!
*Note: SERVPRO really was the company I called and they did their magic. In fact, as of the publication of this article they are still drying out our home. Yes, I picked SERVPRO, want to know why? They know how to brand and therefor their top of mind awareness and recall is on point! I talk about branding here and how powerful it can be. Not once in their Ads are they trying to sell me on a price point, they are the company that makes your home like it never even happened.
ken ‘spanky’ moskowitz
founder | ceo | zombie ❤️ lover