Ask who

Working at large companies requires involvement with lots of people, across separate departments, divisions and business units. A lot of the time, blame gets assigned to a “group”, rather than a person. A while ago, I learned from one of my favorite producers to always ask, “Who?”. Departments are rarely the problem and a department can never fix your problem — a person has a chance. An example:
“My shot can’t final because the effects department hasn’t given me all my elements.”
Completely reasonable statement, but also not that helpful. Without identifying who, we can’t even start to fix the issue at hand.
“My shot can’t final because Rob hasn’t given me all my effects elements.”
Now we can get somewhere. Does Rob have too many shots on his plate? Has he been out sick? Is he simply incompetent? How can Rob’s priorities be adjusted to get this shot done? Next time someone complains about a group, try asking “Who?” Force them to think about who actually needs to do something different to address the issue, and then work on fixing the problem.