It’s About “The What”, Not “The Who”

COUNTLESS-JOYS-by-Devaney-Rae-Masthead[su_dropcap style=”flat”]T[/su_dropcap]HERE IS ONE instance in life and in business interactions when I always say, “It’s about ‘The What’, not ‘The Who’!” Otherwise, I usually live and guide my being with the unfailing principle of: “Placing the value of people before the work of processes will generally produce profitable outcomes.” So, here’s the deal: It’s Jack and Jill before Excel and Outlook.

There is a Behavioral Epidemic Among Us

Have you noticed the epidemic among us that is about something other than the Zika virus, Ebola, Cholera, or Avian influenza? While certainly not as threatening to our physical well-being as are these current worldwide health epidemics, the behavioral epidemic among us is none-the-less devastating. Its symptoms include:

  • self-will worship,
  • continual demand for convincing and proving,
  • disregard for the best interests of others, and
  • control: self-preservation of position, titles, reputation, and authority.

The tell-tale behavioral symptom is that of attaching colorful, but nasty donkey tails on the southern end of other people. Almost always, the chosen southern end simply is not the rightful host.

The Vast Scope of the Epidemic’s Reach

Sadly, this epidemic has spread from the C-Suites of Fortune 500 companies; across the expanse of the business spectrum; straight into the smallest Mom and Pop shops; gushing into the sacred pulpits of our churches; and landing squarely in the makeshift boardrooms and private bedrooms of our homes. From these vast locales, the epidemic’s devastating impact has reached a multitude of hearts and souls. Thus, it has impacted the well-being of too many valued relationships to count. My leader friends: the body count is stacking up, yet the epidemic is continually gaining strength. It grieves me to report that this behavioral epidemic is highly contagious, grossly habitual, and fully self-serving.

shutterstock_241521790-e1444917697599The Ugly of the Culprit

As sad, it is an epidemic of behavior that is driven by a culprit, who is at the core of what I call “The Ugly”. This dripping goop of ugly is fed by a root that consists of unresolved, nasty, and hidden inner issues of the heart. These heart issues produce perpetual lying and deceitfulness; first, to itself and then, toward others. Truly, truly, it is “The Ugly” that drives the epidemic behavior and this epidemic’s name is BLAME.

Its main goal is to divert attention away from “The What”, especially “The What” of the root issue or operational challenge. Don’t be deceived by the pretty or handsome and professional front of the carriers of this epidemic. For right behind their thinly-veiled mask of sugary sweet kindness, professionalism, and wisdom hides the infectious root issues of “The Ugly”. The deadly infectious power lies in the diversion tactics of their deceitfully ugly behavior. Those tactics are aimed at drowning the crowd, so as to divert its focus toward “The Who” instead of toward “The What” of the real matter. Oh, and just so you’ll be fully informed: the infectious carrier’s goal is to perpetually make everyone believe that they are never, ever a part of the “The Who” that they specialize in blaming!

Why Blame Instead of Responsibility?

Yes, indeed, their diversionary tactics include attaching infected donkey tails where they don’t belong. Of course, this is all about protecting the deceitful cover of their inner unresolved, nasty, and hidden issues of the heart. Most leaders know firsthand that within the behavioral epidemic of blame, there is no profitable solution to be derived from condemning, accusing, or finding fault with “The Who”. This is because the toxic effects of these negative donkey tails do absolutely nothing to address the genuine process of connecting responsibility with a powerful plan. Further, until leaders take charge over the epidemic behavior of blame, by cutting off “The (infectious) Who”, we cannot hope to find meaningful solutions to the real operational challenges. The answers to the real operational challenges lie in addressing “The What”: what is contributing to our real challenges?

Furthermore, the toxic bleeding from the blaming donkey tails works to “shut down” the best performance of the majority of warm-blooded beings. In fact, the negative impact from the sheer weight of the donkey tails simply creates a cascade of defensiveness and chaotic behavior. Nastily, the oozing of defensiveness and chaos immobilizes the forward movement toward productive solutions about “The What”. Of course, this is just the chaotic turmoil scene that the Blame culprit desires, for it deflects attention away from “The Ugly” truth that is harbored within their behavior.

How Focusing on Responsibility Squashes the Epidemic

Alternatively, when leaders focus on identifying, supporting, and empowering responsibility, opportunities are created for connecting the power of responsibility with productive plans. The power of responsibility inherently identifies who, but it effectively addresses “The What”. It also provides protective qualities against blame when it is inoculated with a plan. On the whole, responsibility in action looks like:

  • embracing one’s duty and role to perform productively;
  • becoming an active participant in and a contributor to the powerful plan;
  • exercising one’s power to control processes and outcomes (not people): and
  • maximizing the opportunity to produce greatness.

When leaders focus on and communicate the look of responsibility, we speak to the resources and possibilities within a person. Ah, now there is healthy life-breath being poured into the great, unique potential within warm-blooded beings! This life-breath gives the genuine opportunity to become and to produce great outcomes within the framework of a powerful plan. In this way, there is a Win-Win scenario created: No one has to wear the ugly donkey tails and everyone’s best interest is considered and respected. Be forewarned: this approach requires dealing with “The (infectious) Who”.

To be continued …


Devaney Rae
Devaney Rae
Devaney’s professional background includes professional Business Development, Leadership, and Life on Purpose Coaching, along with Instructional Design Technology consulting for Training & Presentation Design. Devaney also provides professional consulting within Organizational/ Performance Management for business owners and decision-makers. Devaney also established Life On Purpose with Devaney Rae in early 2018 as a way to connect with others who want to Get From Where You Are Now To Where You Want to Be. This effort connects people with professional coaching and a variety of resources to establish business growth that includes learning to create and manage multiple streams of income. Devaney works one-on-one and in small groups with people to create their own Life Purpose Plan and to develop the correct Business Strategy for Growth. Then, she helps them bring the plan to life so each one can step into their ownMORE! She has enjoyed a successful career in Healthcare Administration, Chemical Manufacturing, Retail Sales, Marketing, and within the Non-Profit Business sectors. Devaney earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Walden University and her Master’s degree in Instructional Design Technology for Professional Trainers from New York Institute of Technology. She also earned a degree in Dental Hygiene with license to practice in Texas and Louisiana. Devaney is a published author of the book, Countless Joys: The Place Beyond Tears (Westbow Press, 2015). The content is her story about how ordinary people are called to do “the extraordinary” in life. She has a passion for impacting others with life-giving hope, joy, and peace. Devaney established a non-profit organization, Countless Joys, Inc. in 2015. The mission of Countless Joys, Inc. is to Touch the Lives of Others with Joy. The specific focus is on Interrupting Human Trafficking of children and teenagers. Altogether, giving back to others is Devaney’s personal life mission and joy. Devaney makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee.

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  1. Devaney, your experience as a leader shows. As I read your article I kept thinking about the way Stephen Covey described being responsible. He called it Response Able. I like the way you summed it up “when leaders focus on identifying, supporting, and empowering responsibility, opportunities are created for connecting the power of responsibility with productive plans.” In my years of working, it was rare that a manager formed a more productive team by playing to the strengths of individuals or even making assignments that fit their skill set. I think it’s easier to take on responsibility with the right attitude when the purpose is understood, tasks are defined, roles are explained, and communication is open, honest, and frequent.

    • Thank you, Jane, for joining this conversation and for your kind words toward me. I sure “wanna be” an experienced leader; and I’ve seen so much of these dynamics, sadly. And, I’ve been the recipient of way too many donkey tails – simply from speaking the truth into the brokenness of leaders/ decision makers. Your comments are right on and true. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lynn, for joining the conversation. I did see your other comment and I replied to it. It is definitely a dynamic that I am observing and experiencing in so many organizational scenarios, both present and in the past. It is not a story of one person or one organization, sadly. But, there is great hope for change when leaders step up and lead up (rightly). 🙂

  2. Devaney, this article resonated what I experienced when I had left Law Enforcement and worked for a Fortune 500 Company where being me was not what was acceptable. In order to be accepted, I couldn’t be myself until one day, I said “No More”. Great Article, Great Insight, and Thank You!

    • Lynn, this is such a common scenario; be encouraged that your experience is not unique, nor personal to/ about you. Blame is the ultimate self-focused, self-serving, and self-willed worship behavior. It is always rooted in unresolved inner issues. The turmoil felt by the one who receives the donkey tails is that those who specialize in blaming always find a way to add a pinch of truth into their bag of lies and attacks – their flood of chaos. People who are emotionally mature and who truly have the best interests of others (and the organization) at heart do not blame; they work together to find genuine solutions and reach success in the plan. So glad the message resonated with you. 🙂