The “Chain” in Search of the “Guilty”

In an interview, the well-known great Argentinian volley trainer Julio Velasco explains in a concise and effective way the “chain” that is created in a volleyball team between a masher, a lifter, and a receiver in case of error, in which one goes back in search of the guilty. In fact, he says, the first reaction of the masher is not focused on understanding what he did wrong and, above all, what he can do to be more effective in the future, but turns to the lifter and asks him to raise the ball better, actually transferring to him the responsibility of the error or at least sharing it. The lifter, for his part, turns to the receiver to ask that the ball be thrown better. The receiver remains, which – however – can not transfer the blame to anyone since the ball comes directly from the field side of the opposing team.

Then, through the chain, the great coach explains the difficulty of getting out of the rigid logic of “respect” of our task, removing from us the responsibility of the effectiveness of the game as a whole and of the final result (the point won or lost). In practice, the mistake is to consider only one’s task important, not worrying about that of others, with the risk of not achieving full effectiveness as a group.

This metaphor allows us to represent on one hand the importance of the individual contribution and on the other the focus on the overall vision that allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of the responsibility and activities of all the members.

In particular, to say that “the hitters don’t speak about how to set the ball, but they sort it out”, highlights the opportunity to focus on themselves and their contribution rather than blaming others for something wrong.

We are not something that is outside the group, but one of the elements that allow the group to reach full effectiveness.

So, getting out of the metaphor, within an organization, look at the faults of others it makes us lose sight of the “sense” of our responsibility and our contribution.

If we relate these considerations to the leader, taking personal responsibility means promoting choices in the direction that is deemed right even when the road seems too hard: it means recovering the power to make things go well even when this seems very difficult and even when it seems natural to say “I can not change things “,” it’s not up to me “.

In a leader, we see a guide that directs and makes decisions. But leadership is also (and above all) something else: it is the constant practice of personal responsibility that starts the action, promotes ideas, and new approaches to be shared in the group and adopted in everyday life.

The true leader must be the message he wants to send. This means acting in the organization by setting an example.

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Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment; I really appreciate it!
    At the basis of the change there is always the assumption of responsibility, which forces us to roll up our sleeves and take advantage of negative experiences. The first step to change quickly and succeed in life is to take on our responsibilities, which automatically puts us in tune with others by eliminating the root cause of conflicts: excess selfishness and lack of self-confidence and others! Those who do not recognize their mistakes, or are unwilling to admit their faults, are not ready for change.