What’s Your Excuse?
What are the three excuses you use most often?
With more than 10,000 hours of executive coaching experience, my observation is that everyone, even the highest performing people use excuses when they miss a deadline or break a promise. When we offer excuses to others, we lose credibility and trust.
The first step to Eradicate Excuses in the Workplace™ is to shift our focus from the easy work of noticing when other people are giving excuses, to the harder and more impactful work of noticing when we do it ourselves.
Here are some of my excuses:
• I was on travel
• Yesterday was too busy
These are not explanations; they are excuses; (explanations are okay).
In fact, being on travel and having a busy day doesn’t change the fact that I had the exact same amount of time as every other person on the planet, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We do a deep dive on this in our Accountability Trainings and while we can’t cover our entire method in a two-minute video, we can give you the basics.
We invite you to Eradicate Excuses in the Workplace™ by following three easy steps.
• Identify the excuse. One example is my personal favorite: “I was on travel”
• Replace the excuse with an explanation like “I didn’t make it a priority”
• State your call to action: “Here is when I will do it,” which is why this person came to speak with you in the first place.
They want to know what you WILL do, not WHY you didn’t do it.
When I said “I was on travel”, a more accountable replacement would have been “I’m sorry I didn’t keep the commitment. I was on travel and didn’t make it a priority. You will see the report in Excel format by 3pm PT, tomorrow, January 10″.
Now, how do you start eradicating your own excuses?
Start by writing down the three excuses you use most often. Then, add some more accountable language to replace those excuses.
Feel free to call your own excuses out in the moment. If you catch yourself saying something like “I was on travel”, say, “You know what, that’s an excuse. I didn’t make it a priority yesterday and I will tomorrow. Expect to see the report in your inbox by 10:00 am, CT tomorrow”.
Use this video in a team meeting to identify the excuses you use most often as individuals and as a team.
Make operating agreements to replace that language with clear explanations, followed immediately by a firm and specific call to action.
In upcoming months, we will be talking about other aspects of Eradicating Excuses in the Workplace™ like:
• Understanding the difference between an explanation and an excuse.
Thank you, we look forward to hearing your thoughts. Let us know how you are doing.
As always, we appreciate your attention, and for additional ideas, follow me on twitter: @HenryJEvans
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