How to Deal with the Aftermath of the Texas Winter Storm in a Way that Builds Trust
This "once-in-a-lifetime" Texas winter storm, for the most part, is behind us. The state governor decided to put the investigation of the causes of the power outages on the agenda for the current legislative session, and we already know what's coming next. In fact, it already begun.
The focus of the investigation will be on who's to blame. Who's fault was it. And there's a perfectly good reason for it. In my 2018 TEDx talk, I discussed the reasons for our culture of litigation, and don't be mistaken, we do have such culture. The U.S. spends more on civil litigation annually than Canada, the UK, the entire European Union, and Japan combined. Twice. We lead the world by spending 1.66% of our GDP on civil litigation. There are 28 countries in this world that don't make in GDP per capita as the U.S. spends on civil litigation per capita. Of all the things we should be leading the world in, this should not be one of them.
And hence the reason for the upcoming finger pointing. If we could shift blame away from ourselves to someone else, we will also shift the target of upcoming litigation, with the first lawsuits already being filed.
But, would that build trust? No.
If we were really interested in solving the problems that the storm revealed, if we really wanted to assure they don't occur again, we should adopt a different attitude and behavior. We should look in the mirror instead of pointing fingers at others.
Every person (yes, including the consumers) must ask two questions:
What should I have done differently?
What should I do differently starting today?
If each and every one of us did that, problems will not repeat themselves. It's not enough to make empty statements such as I heard recently: "I take full responsibility," or "the buck stops with me." What do those statements mean? Even when they are pointing inwards, suggesting accountability, they are not solving any problem.
Instead, I would like to hear people say, "I will figure out what I did wrong, and I will make sure I never do that again." That would have so much more meaning. It will be so much more effective in assuring problems don't repeat themselves, and it will build so much more trust on those taking this attitude.