Big goals. Frustrating roadblocks. Concerns grow into excuses. Venting fuels negativity.
Weak leaders excuse excuses.
Strong leaders reframe thinking.
Growing leaders inspire possibility.
A Few of My Favorites
- “We would sell more, if the product line were different”
- “Our attrition would be better, if our competitor wasn’t paying more”
- “My quality results would be higher, if I wasn’t assigned to the late shift”
- “The employees would be more engaged, if this wasn’t a union environment”
- “Our stock would be doing better, if the economy were better”
Take a minute to fill in your favorite excuses to your most significant business problems. The issues are real. Inspire beyond the excuses.
Inspire Beyond Excuses
1. Acknowledge reality. Don’t defend or sugar coat. Share work underway by others. Brainstorm creative solutions, but then move on. Clearly articulate what is beyond the team’s scope. If it’s gravity… acknowledge that too.
2. ”Sell the bananas on the truck.” When my sales team complained that they needed a different product mix, I had one response, “sell the bananas on the truck.” If you have bananas, find the people who need bananas, and meet their needs. Drive to where the banana eaters live. Stop wishing you had mangos. Align on what’s within their control. Brainstorm a list. You can impact most of what matters. Encourage past frustration.
3. Reinforce vision and purpose…. Empower contribution to the bigger picture. ”When you win despite X7@#$%#$%, what will that mean to your team?.. our customers?… the company?… your career….?”
4. Recognize those succeeding despite the obstacles. Someone always has their head down winning. Celebrate success. It’s hard to make excuses when others around you are knocking it out of the park under the same conditions. In my “bananas on the truck” role I created a “century club, for anyone that got to 100. That seemed crazy at the time, when 7 was a big win. We celebrated every Century Club member with passion (not a lot of $, just excitement and personal attention). Soon 100 felt easy.
5. Show them the Data. Complaining magnifies concerns. Data grounds issues in reality. “The competition is causing our attrition”… can be countered with, “2 of 40 have left to work for a competitor…. how could we have saved the other 38?”
How do you lead beyond excuses?
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