Is The User Broken? Or The Tool?
When something goes wrong, the often and inevitable default reaction is to blame the individual for the failure.
And while some individuals blame the tools they use – correctly or as a scapegoat – when we incorrectly blame the person for the shortcomings of a system or resource we take value away from the individual. And this doesn’t place anyone closer to solving what went wrong.
Sometimes we would rather blame people than objectively look to what component actually failed. What it user error or ignorance? Was the system in error, not properly tested or ignored for its flaws? Or some of both?
A good leader will objectively look to the clear cut truths of why an issue came to the forefront.
Here are some of those underlying truths:
- Many times we blame or resist tools and systems because we don’t – or many times are not willing to – understand or use them properly.
- And other times the tool is broken and we blame the individual for failure rather than check the tool (system. process) that they have been struggling to use.
Consider these questions as you identify if you’re addressing a broken tool or broken user:
- Is the tool not widely used because it’s broken?
- Is the user not adopting processes because they refuse to change?
- Are there reasons within company culture that explain why certain processes are worked around?
- Does leadership force a tool that does not self-work, or make more work? Do they even understand it fully?
- Is a particular individual or team working within the tool but not getting support?
- Do we need to run through the process, system, or tool and check for clunkiness, inefficiencies, poor user interface?
- Do we blame the people when it’s the tools fault?
- Do people blame the tool when it’s their own fault?
- Is our hope in the tool or in our people? What type of organization do we want to be?
By being discerning, finding out facts by asking around and fully checking into people and processes, you can better fine tune your people and the systems and tools you provide to ensure your goals are met. When people and processes are aligned to work together seamlessly, each supporting the other, then you can avoid questions about what is or isn’t working in your organization.