All about blame

When something goes wrong, it’s a natural response to want to assign blame. A campaign flopped, an advertisement didn’t produce the expected response, a product didn’t take off the way everyone thought—it’s expected that fingers will be pointed. Though it isn’t always black and white, we want to blame someone as if it were.

This week I’m trying to push through a series of ads for a grant-funded project for one of my clients. Nothing new, nothing extraordinary. The problem is that, because of the way the grant is written, they have to pay the ads themselves instead of my buying the space and then billing them with the rest of the work I will do/am doing for the project. That means that someone at the public sector organization needs to be on the ball in securing this order.

That hasn’t happened yet.

Paperwork was supposed to be turned in first thing this morning so their purchasing department would have today and Monday to get a purchase order out to the media outlets (who are, in this case, taking a purchase order instead of prepayment or a drawn out credit check/contract). The paperwork sat on someone’s desk and just got turned in. I’m wondering if this is going to work at all.

So, whose fault is it?

Mine, for not hunting down the executive assistant this morning to hear from her that it was turned in (though I literally was just able to get through to her instead of having to leave messages).

The executive assistant’s for not turning it in (though she is working on a huge project for a Sunday fundraising event).

The executive assistant’s boss for not reminder her that this was due first thing today (her boss manages the grant).

The program manager’s for not even asking if the advertisements have been set up or sent in.

Ultimately, if the ads don’t get placed, if the money sits there, unused, and the attendance at these grant-funded programs isn’t great, then it will affect future funding. And responsibility for that will be attributed to me.

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter ( and (Facebook).

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