Making Excuses: The Fallout of Failure.
As many folks know my relentless worklife, work ethic and drive, this really comes down to the fact of being focused on reasonable timing, communication and budget of resource, personnel and planned timed milestones for success.
As a leader, there are no excuses.
Even if you want to make them, you are looked at as the quintessential Batman — Responsible for all, with the expectations of foresight and hindsight that would Nick Cage’s character Cris Johnson in the movie Next look bad. Fact is, that is not the case. Except that we all have amazing hindsight, bosses included.
Now, when you come up against a deadline, situation you didn’t expect or plan. Timelines changing abruptly. Resources being removed from a project unexpectedly, or being in a position where you have over promised and may have no other resolution but to underdeliver. What your next steps are, define you in your paradigm — what you would be remembered for, either for this project, for for eternity. This could be a really, really good outcome or in many cases… well you know what the opposite of good is.
As a leader or one that may be on their way, dealing with conflicting reports or personal with different points of view is as common as blades of grass in the park. All different shades, types and roots, and sooner or later, needing to be trimmed back of excess that bogs down the metaphorical pruning process.
As folks may know of my work ethic, they also are well aware of my method of being direct when there is a miscommunication or misstep, and the desire to realign to have all resources and parties on the same page — and excuses are not confused with drastic expectation confusion.
In a recent conversation that I was well aware was not going in the direction that it should, it became apparent that the other individual whom confused excuses with reasonable delay, was exactly that — excuses. Through more direct communication, it became also apparent, that this professional was not interested in resolution, but rather, justification of their excuses — which had been spread out for several months. Flashbacks of a previous supervisor came to mind, training me on working with employees and how to, in his words;
“listen, but not be drawn into their story.”
He was careful on how caring he was, giving his employees, the benefit of the doubt, an understanding that they are human next, and then, drawing a line and reevaluating expectations if the questionable direction continued.
Snapping back to present day, there was an uncanny resemblance to the discussion unfolding in front of me. The talent in question, rather than discuss, shut down and darted topics, darted expectations, darted the question.
They were looking for an easy out, which I was disappointed to give them.
Retracing your steps in a conversation, or even writing down objectives is a great way to help make sure that points in a discussion, agreement or business deal, get solved, answered or resolved.
When you have someone who starts to leverage your kindness for weakness, its time to wrap up shop.
Oh, and its never a great thing to tell someone your wrist isn’t working, while being active on social media platforms posting, liking and commenting on everything and anything of interest: It looks really bad, and my eyes work just as well as the next persons.
Right up there with calling out sick with a stomach bug and your boss sees that you posted pictures on Facebook of that crazy party you went to the night before. Stomach bug must have cleared up pretty quick.
The takeaway? Don’t make excuses, and don’t point fingers or divert the topic. Answer, admit defeat, and be respectful at all times of all party’s time, resources and expectations. Communicate this before it gets too late to do so. Work to resolve the conflict while being mindful of the situation, yet keeping yourself mentally 2 steps back from the conversation emotionally to not be drawn into the story — this does not mean to be cold, just remaining uncompromised.
What have been some of the most ridiculous excuses you have ever heard, from a co worker, employee, employer, client or even a partner? Keep em PG and post em below!
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