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“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else” Benjamin Franklin 

“The best excuse is no excuse!” a phrase my father drilled into me since I was a child. And to be honest, it has served me well when leading teams, and when creating a safe and effective team. By not accepting excuses from one’s self, you won’t accept excuses from others. When you create an environment where team members feel safe to voice their opinions, when you overcome face saving, embarrassments, and fears, you get to a point where the team will not accept excuses.

So, what is an excuse? It is that which we use to make ourselves feel better about a situation or to avoid admitting our fears, founded or not. It is usually a knee-jerk reaction to the question of “Why …?”

Is there an appropriate answer? Yes! It is one where you stand up for your actions, decisions, and look forward to how you can make the best of the situation or at the very least, prevent it from happening in the future if it was deemed a failure. We all fail sometimes, after all, and we are all imperfect: but this should not prevent us from working together in a respectful manner and get good results.

The next time you start a sentence with “because” or “due to”, check if you’re trying to hide from the fact that you failed to foresee a situation or an aspect. If you give an excuse, you’re not only being disrespectful and deceiving to yourself, but worse, to your team. A sure fire way to ensure failure in any endeavour.

Posted: July 19th, 2015
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