(NOTE: This was originally posted in September 2017.)
Familiar with this line? It was a song originally written in 1964. It became part of the popular vernacular when rapper Silkk the Shocker made it a hip-hop hit in 1998. The song even made it to the country music scene, done by The Brothers Osborne. I bring it up now because I think it really fits as a description of an issue in modern culture. I call it the “Ain’t My Fault Syndrome.”
People have always devised ways to divert attention away from themselves when they make mistakes. It seems to have exploded in the past 20-30 years. The McDonald’s coffee case seemed to lead the way. Now, a lot of myths have spread about the case. Google it if you haven’t heard the full story. The old lady actually was not driving, and the coffee was hot enough to create 3rd-degree burns. She was entitled to compensation for her medical expenses. But thanks to the instant news world we now live in, a small portion of the story mushroomed into its own story, and people saw actual gain in blame-shifting. The real story shows some major blame-shifting also, as McDonald’s claimed no responsibility for serving coffee hot enough to put 3rd-degree burns on its customers.
Our society has become a “sue first, ask questions later” society, and now we have products that are designed more for preventing lawsuits than the function intended. Toys are designed less about teaching or entertaining children and more about preventing lawsuits from rotten parents who don’t want to parent their kids – give them this toy and if they hurt themselves, just sue the toy manufacturer.
How about that Super Bowl in New Orleans in February 2014? The Ravens were destroying the 49ers, then early in the 3rd quarter, half the lights in the Superdome went out. The game was stopped. Within 5 minutes, every company that is responsible for producing even 1 kilowatt of electricity in the state of Louisiana had put out a statement that “we are not responsible for the outage at the Super Bowl.” Hey, ya think you might want to wait until the cause is discovered before you start swearing you had nothing to do with it? But it’s not like they were the only ones. Just about every company you can think of acts the same way. When news breaks that something bad has happened, any company that might possibly have contributed to the bad thing in any way breaks out the tired old “deny, deny, deny” strategy. “It’s not us! We’re angels! We’re innocent!”
In the 2017 NFL season, we saw 2 NFL head coaches blame-shift to explain their teams’ poor performances. After being dismantled by Denver, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called out Zeke Elliott for lack of effort and blamed offensive inefficiencies on QB Dak Prescott. After getting whipped at home by Detroit, Giants coach Bob McAdoo blamed the offensive woes on QB Eli Manning. Yeah, I’m sure the only reason you lost was because the players botched your perfect coaching, and that poor coaching had nothing to do with the final score.
Is there a better way? Of course there is. We need to get away from a default response of “It Ain’t My Fault.” When you issue written statements about products or apologies for mishaps, you don’t want to just “spin” this situation. So many times we see big companies respond to negative publicity with all 3 versions of the “It Ain’t My Fault” song. You must be honest, own your mistake, and lay out your plan to correct and restore things to an optimal state. If you hire a Virtual Assistant to do your writing for you, the one thing you want is for that writing to be honest. If something has gone wrong, a good writer will write something that is honest, doesn’t duck responsibility, lays out a plan of action, and is professional at all times.
If you want to explore how a Virtual Assistant can help you with your writing or other tasks you could use some help with, contact us and let’s talk about what you need to take your business to another leve.