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Chapter 6 The Habits That Can Hold You B... > Habit 13—Throwing Others under the B...

Habit 13—Throwing Others under the Bus

Sacrificing a colleague—often anonymous, often vulnerable, and usually innocent—by blaming her or him for one’s own functional failure.

Although this habit may be driven partly by people’s need to explain failure, we believe that this particular version is more personal. Think back for a minute about the joke about two hikers discussing what would happen if they came across a bear on the trail. The joke ends with one hiker saying, “I don’t have to run faster than the bear; I just have to run faster than you.”

The bear in question here is usually an unhappy customer we’ve wronged; we failed to deliver what we promised. The customer is upset and is righteously expressing her dissatisfaction. We react immediately (sometimes viscerally) to the tension and look for the easiest, quickest escape route (or, more on target, escape-goat). What better release than deflecting the tension onto someone else, someone unnamed and not present who is often irrelevant to the interaction at hand. We find someone else to sacrifice to the bear.


  

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