“Yeah Right!?” That’s what I sometimes hear from certain business leaders when I talk about creating a “no excuse” culture within their organization. I’m then “reminded” that excuses are part of the game and you just have to accept them. From my perspective, accepting that “excuse making” comes with the territory is, well…an excuse not to take action!
Effective leaders know that building and sustaining a “no excuse” culture can be done – not overnight – but as a result of the combination of several distinct (but related) tactics. These tactics include:
- A clear and precise vision – This eliminates the “I didn’t know what we really do” excuse.
- Practical and measurable training and meaningful skills development – This eliminates the “nobody showed me how to do it” excuse.
- Comprehensive knowledge of job responsibilities – This eliminates the “I didn’t know how or when or what to do excuse” categories.
- Developing and communicating specific and measurable performance expectations – This eliminates the “I didn’t realize that’s how you wanted it done” excuse.
- Communicate through words and actions that employee development is a key component of how you run your business/organization – This eliminates the “Nobody cares about us here” excuse.
- Leadership – Making it clear that mistakes are okay because we learn from them…as long as each team member, including the leader, owns them and doesn’t try to hide from them or blame someone or something else.
Seems unrealistic? Well, here’s something that is real: lost time and money. Stop for a minute and think about what excuses (to cover up mistakes or explain them away) are costing your organization in terms of “do overs,” fixes (lost sales, revenues and cash), etc. And let’s not forget the time it takes to navigate through the sea of excuses to get to the facts or truth. And, while you are managing this, what’s the cost to your brand and reputation, as your customers grow unhappy being the victims of the excuses? Still think that creating a “no excuse culture” is not doable and does not have real measurable value?
Don’t even try to answer that question; it would only be an excuse.