Don’t be the Goat! 3 Reasons Why Blame Is BAAAAAD

Don’t be the Goat! 3 Reasons Why Blame Is BAAAAAD

Posted October 11, 2016 by Heather Hutson

I was on show site recently and there was a serious lag on the internet connection.

Once the whole group jumped online, the fast stable connection dragged down to a snail’s pace. The meeting planner, frazzled and stressed came to the AV Technical Director and asked his opinion. He told her what you are thinking, 900 attendees, averaging two devices each that’s 1800 connections! Without dedicating 5-10 MB to the group, they were bound to slow down. It seemed to everyone that was the problem. Everyone BUT the IT guys responsible for the HSIA.

The IT techs were probably worried that they were going to have to refund some of the meeting planner’s money. So they found a scapegoat. They decided that the problem was a gadget that the Lighting Directorscapegoat used to tie his lighting board to his smart phone. The gadget was on it’s own data connection. Common sense and imperial data showed the IT Tech’s hypothesis to be incorrect.   However, since they thought they had found the problem, they stopped looking for a solution.

Stakes are high in the live show environment; you’re only as good as your last show. I’ve lost accounts due to human error, it happens.   In corporate environments where there is no grace for human error, it makes sense that people would be looking for the “goat”.

Here are the problems with the “goat”:

goatlargeIt creates division within the team. Production, AV, Internet provider, meeting planners, we are all on the same team. We all have the same client, we all have the same goal. We are all trying to deliver the best audience experience we can.

It ends the search for the real solution. Once we have a ‘goat’ then we stop trouble shooting. We believe we have found the culprit and we have someone to blame when the problem resurfaces.

It creates a cycle of blame. While the end customer, the audience, suffers.

Brene Brown, noted researcher on shame and vulnerability, says that we seek to place blame because it makes us feel like we are more in control.


Things happen that are beyond our control all the time. In my – never – to – be – humble opinion, it is a waste of energy and resources to find ‘the responsible party’. It’s better to pull the team together as a cohesive unit (AV, IT, Production, Meeting Planning) to collaborate on the best solutions.

Remember we’re all in this together, we all have the same goal- to have an excellent audience experience.

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