The Victim/Player scenario
The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior
is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an
ordinary man takes everything as a curse. (Don Juan)
“You’re late, Al,” says John with a grimace. “Again.”
John is the procurement vice president for Al’s largest
client, and he is clearly not a happy customer.
“I’m sorry, John, my previous meeting ran over. The client
was late and everything got delayed.”
Al’s explanation doesn’t appease John. “It’s not the
meeting, Al, it’s the delivery. We are still waiting for
your shipment, the one that was supposed to arrive last
“Well, that’s not my fault,” says Al. “The freight company
dropped the ball. They screwed up the paperwork and
delayed the whole thing.”
“I don’t give a damn whose fault is it. We can’t afford
delays. Our plant is starved for parts: your parts.”
Al leaves John’s office muttering under his breath, “I’m not
responsible for my previous meeting running over or for
the shipping company’s mistake. He’s blaming me for
problems I didn’t create. People are so unfair..
• Ability to respond to a situation
• Offer – buy or not to buy
• Respond to a complaint – listen or argue
− Responses not determined by external circumstances or instinct
• Lets you focus on those aspects of the situation that you
• Card player
− Complaining and making excuses for your cards
− Or choice on how you play your cards and doing your best with
what you got.
Preventing the pen from falling?
• Don’t drop it! – taking responsibility - Player
• Stop gravity???? – blaming external circumstances -
Defining the victim vs the player
• No one is simply a victim or a player – changes based
− Take responsibility
− In the game and can affect the result
− No responsibility
− Suffer consequences of others’ actions
− Pays attention only to those factors he cannot influence
• When an account executive-as-victim loses a client,
he immediately claims that the shipping department did
not deliver on time. This may also be true, but overlooks
the fact that he may have failed to ask the shipping
department if it could meet the deadline.
• If the account executive were a player, he would
choose to focus on his contribution to the problem, that
is, on the ungrounded commitment that led to the
late shipment and consequent loss of the customer.
Factors that are beyond your control….
− Focus on the ones within your control
− Focus on those beyond your control
Using the language of a player
• Instead of focusing on the event, you can acknowledge
that you did not anticipate the possibility.
− “I did not anticipate that there could be a traffic jam”
− “I did not foresee that the weather could turn nasty”
− “I didn’t think that our suppliers could fail to deliver on time,”
− “I underestimated the risk of the project.”
Changing the wording, reflects change in
• It’s hopeless • I haven’t found a solution
• Someone should take the • I could take the first step
first step and get things started
• It can’t be done • I choose not to do it
• You make me angry • When you speak that way it
makes me angry
• I have to leave
• I want to leave
• I don’t have time
• I prefer to focus on other
How to provoke victim responses…
• What happened to you?
• Who wronged you?
• What was wrong (or unfair) about what he did to you?
• Why do you think he did this to you?
• What should he have done instead?
• What should he do now to repair the damage?
• How should he be punished?
And a player…..
• What challenge did you face?
• How did you contribute (by acting or not acting) to
create this situation?
• How did you respond to the challenge?
• Can you think of a more effective course of action you
could have taken?
• Could you have made some reasonable preparations to
reduce the risk or the impact of the situation?
• Can you do something now to minimize or repair the
• What can you learn from this experience?
Back to the scenario….
• Own the situation
• Make it right
• Offer a solution
• Take responsibility
My favourite saying…..
Waiting to talk is not listening……
Conscious Business: How to Build Values through Values
− Fred Kofman