Friday, June 29, 2012

Blame Never Works

Why is it always me? She/he did it, why do I get punished too? It's not fair?

Sound familiar? It should if you have kids.

At what point do we stop acting that way and accept our punishments? Looking around the world, the answer seems to be never. In fact many times reality is not as biased as our parents. Thus nowadays someone is the scapegoat while the rest are free to go about as they please.

Also not the best way to live life or manage. When you reach management your job is to keep order and happiness among the ranks. It's not an easy task. But as usual this week's parsha has a few words of wisdom for management to consider.

One incident in particular stands out this week, the infamous Moshe hits the rock story. God tells Moshe and Aaron to talk to a rock in an anthropomorphism way in 20:7-11.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
8. "Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and speak to the rock in their presence so that it will give forth its water. You shall bring forth water for them from the rock and give the congregation and their livestock to drink."
9. Moses took the staff from before the Lord as He had commanded him.
10. Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock, and he said to them, "Now listen, you rebels, can we draw water for you from this rock?"
11. Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, when an abundance of water gushed forth, and the congregation and their livestock drank.

And immediately God says Aaron you will die for this. WHAT!? And Aaron says nothing, takes off his priestly clothes and goes gently into that good night. WHAT!? My brother doesn't listen and I get punished? Yes sir.

You see Aaron was the older brother, he should have been either quicker to stop Moshe from hitting the rock or should have tried to discuss with him why that would not suffice. And so God blamed Aaron and this left Moshe all alone as the last standing leader. Perhaps for Moshe to ask for forgiveness. But Moshe really was not looking to outlast hi stay, but he really did want to get into Israel. That never happenned, God's punishment was equal for both brothers but performed in different ways.

There are times in business when we need to accept the customers decisions and no matter how they arrived at their punishment for us, we have to accept it. You can use this in business as a manager on your employees to gauge their abilities but that is not a fair test for them. In fact it may come back to hurt you. Instead recognize that although Moshe and Aaron were punished equally, in the end, they were not punished at the same moment.

Do not punish the whole team on a failure all at once or equally. the team as a whole is punished, it may get disbanded or split into new teams but the individuals get a reprieve.

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Parsha Chukat in the book of Bamidbar, Numbers 19:1-22:1
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom