google-site-verification: googleb943d61bcb9cdbf7.html


Blame has become a big part of how the world conducts itself. For example, in the United States, a large part of the country spent 8 years blaming Democrats and President Obama for anything that went wrong. Those who were happy with President Obama now place a lot of their attention on the failings of President Trump and decisions he has made and behaviors he has engaged in. Both sides have outsourced their attention to people who have little to do with their day-to-day lives but the result has been that blame Is now part of process review in many organizations.

For example, when reviewing decisions that did not work out, many firms want to meticulously review how a decision was made, step by step, inch by inch, in order to blame someone, rather than review it for how it can be done better. You can tell that blame is the intention when you see firms fire people, reduce bonuses, or pass people up for promotions for having had the courage to approve something that didn’t work out.

As a result, people learn to play it safe and take no risk whatsoever and that affects corporate performance.

After all, if something doesn’t work out, someone must be WRONG! They Must Be Blamed! They Must Be Held Accountable! Accountability becomes he knife of punishment rather than the tool of learning. The person who did this was wrong! They must be punished! An example must be made of them so that no one EVER does something like this again!

Let is all shun them, kick the to the curb, humiliate the person so that no one ever does something that fails again!

I want to pause for a moment because I am sure some of you are starting to think that malfeasance should result in this type of a response and I agree with you. If an organization finds someone embezzling money, stealing someone’s life savings or some other criminal act, by all means blame and legal repercussions should occur.

However, too often organizations are homogenized into safe conduct that results into fear of loss, rather than an ambitious drive for success. How did safety become so important? How did we learn to be so bland and mediocre?

I know parents are a big part of how I learned to go for safety but I also learned risk from my Dad. My parents were immigrants who met in a camp in Siberia during World War II and came to the US with little money and some family in the US. The drive for security took the form of my Dad finding “a good job” so that my parents could find the time to learn a new language, raise a family and bring the rest of my Mom’s surviving family to the US (my father’s family was killed with the exception of one brother who hid his identity and prospered in Poland).

Safe choices became essential under those conditions and understandably. Yet there was a point where my father faced a choice—the family owned business he worked for was about to go out of business because of an accounting mistake. The owner was ready to throw in the towel. My Dad took over and paid off the creditors and grew it in ways that allowed him to be an American success.

Now these were the times when chips were only made from potatoes, not silicon and high tech meant a noisy huge mechanical adding machine.

The bookkeeper who made the mistake was not an embezzler. She made a mistake (in contrast, later in his professional life, he did catch an embezzler, went to her and said so simply, “You are going to pay back every cent you stole from me or today will be your last day of freedom.”).

Today, the first bookkeeper would have been fired for incompetence despite 30 years of effort. Blame would have been assigned, the stories told in the small office would have allowed them to determine exactly who erred and how. No one would have remembered the 30 years of work (and at most companies today, she would never have been allowed to work there for 30 years).

Look at how managers think of employees post hire. The statistics indicate almost two thirds of hiring managers have buyer’s remorse within one year of hiring someone. They regret hiring that person but do nothing to improve how they hire, preferring instead to blame the new hire for what has happened, rather than themselves for the choice and the process failures that resulted in the bad hire.

American cultural stories involve the great risk takers. Today, we point to Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison from the tech world. In the 19th Century, it was the Vanderbilts, Kennedys and Rockefellers who took risks at pulled off success.

Today, unless mistakes are treated with intense scrutiny that trains people early on that mistakes will be punished. We still act with an industrial attitude toward employees tolerating zero defects from them, expecting perfection when that is impossible

We want to blame others for our circumstances, rather than take responsibility for our own choices. We wind up miserable.

Someone once pointed out to me that when we point at someone else there are three fingers pointed back at ourselves. I think many of us need that reminder.



© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2017


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunterwhat seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching or interview coaching from me?  Email me at [email protected] and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.

He is the head coach for NoBSCoachingAdvice,com and

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Placing the Blame Where It Belongs (VIDEO)

I take a look at 2 stories of my own to help you and myself.


I want to share some of my own story as the subject of this video.  Let me start by saying that this is a hard thing to admit because I’m really competent in almost everything that I do and I don’t make a lot of mistakes but on Friday, I was doing a coaching practicum and I “stink up the joint.”

I miss things I would normally catch.  I just did not perform at a high level.  I don’t even think I perform the mediocre level.  I was just bad.

My 1st reaction was to point the finger and blame the other person I was coaching as though he was at fault for my performance.  A practicum is a process where you have 30 minutes to coach someone you have never spoken with before, you don’t know what the subject is going to be, but you have 30 minutes. You’re going to be observed by a more experienced coach and by others.  It is like a fishbowl.  You have seen the scenes in movies or in hospitals where there is a theater where the surgeon is performing surgery and observed by less experienced physicians.

It kinda feels that way because there are people who are observing and they are quiet during the coaching session (their mics are muted) and there are other participants as well is the head coach for the occasion, who are also observing.

You have 30 minutes, not 31, 30 minutes.  It’s hard to admit, but I stank.  I missed a lot of turns and my 1st reaction was to blame the person I was coaching.  He set me up. He wasn’t well prepared. After all, you’re supposed to arrive at the practicum with something to be coached on and he gave me the idea that he was making it up as he went along. After 5 minutes, he said, “I’m not really sure if this is what I want to be coached about.”  As a result, I missed the turn where I could’ve asked him about what he did want to be coached about and exploring whether or not the reason for the shift that he was hitting on something that was too close to him.

But I blamed him because in my mind, I created a story about this guy and, like I said, I stink up the joint.

I don’t care who you are, but there are things you do where, at times, you blame others just like I did here.  Instead of looking at yourself as being the source, you look at the political environment, you look at bias (which obviously exists) and neglect to look at your part in the scenario.

There are places where you criticize others when you are ill prepared for the circumstances. I thought I was well prepared but my head wasn’t and it showed in this coaching circumstance.  

I’ll simply say that were blame belongs are with oneself.  You don’t do a good enough job and you start to blame your resources, you blame the coworkers… What about you?  What is your part in all of this?

I want to encourage you that before you start lashing out like I was doing, think in terms of your part in this.  For some reason, this played on an old message of mine that happened 8 or 9 years ago when I was attempting to be certified by a group that I was involved with to lead their weekend retreats.  Without going into a lot of boring details, I felt like I was screwed over by the people who were evaluating.

I was lashing out. I was criticizing.  Blame blame blame blame blame.

It was me and, on this occasion, I didn’t show up like I normally do.  I didn’t acknowledge my own foibles afterwards.  I blamed the panel.

You don’t need to blame others. It isn’t really useful for you.

All that happens if you confront them is they dig in their heels, they try to argue with you.  They have the authority and the power and, thus, they are right.  It forced me to look back at myself as I did in what happened on Friday and look at my own part in acknowledge that I wasn’t really all that good.

So, again, blame belongs with oneself. Most of the time, not with others.  Learn that lesson. It’s a hard one for most people to learn, but you will be much happier if you do.



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been coaching people to play their professional and personal games BIG for what seems like 100 years.

For more No BS Coaching Advice & encouragement, visit my website.

Ready to schedule your first coaching call?