Creating Excuses vs. Creating Results

Have you ever noticed? People are a lot better at creating excuses than they are at creating results!

They know if they don’t create a great story or rationale for not achieving results, they’ll look bad. Unfortunately, they fail to understand that failing to achieve required results hinders their company’s success in the marketplace. It hinders their own ability to transform their company, customer relationships and projects. Worse yet, this type of failure can derail their career irretrievably. 

It’s contagious. The biggest issue with allowing excuses to plague the board room is that excuses are merely rationalized reasons for failure. Some are very well rehearsed and we automatically buy into them, at the expense of ourselves and/or the company. We buy into them for various reasons (e.g., we like the person, we’re glad it’s them and not us on the hot seat, we have no idea how to get the results, we have no interest in the project or fear getting involved, etc.). Even the best of us can fall into using the “it’s not my responsibility” defense. Sadly, when this mindset spreads and permeates the company – as often happens – everyone has an excuse to give up. Set aside failure as fate accompli. Ask business questions that are on point and not just talking to talk. The answer is there! Brainstorm and listen for the gold.

Check all the boxes. Simply checking all the boxes isn’t going to move you ahead if you don’t include the human element in your checklist. Too often we focus solely on the material side of a project and forget the people involved. Or, we get so focused on the “feel good” of the project, we neglect making the hard decisions required (e.g., positive ROI). When we bypass setting up a tracking system to hold everyone accountable and manage poor attitudes, we derail progress. Use a business mentor to ensure that the milestones and focused action plans support the declared goal (think, impact on bottom line). Many times it may only require a slight change to get back on track. Other times an entire re-design may be necessary. Either way, do what you must to ensure forward progress.

Close the loop. As a boss or team leader, we fail to follow-up on the progress needed to achieve the results required. Our excuses: We’re too busy! We allow limited thinking or territorial issues to get in the way of doing the right thing the right way. Many times we make the process harder than it needs to be and buy into false accomplishment. Learn to truly listen to others. This is particularly important when you don’t want to listen or if they don’t seem to be making sense right away. There is an answer. To move progress forward during a meeting, write-up an agenda and follow it! Create a sense of immediacy and encourage engagement by distributing minutes (with assignments determined during the meeting!) within 48 hours.

How do you design a plan that works? How do you create unprecedented results? Learn how. 5D ResultsTM to be released soon!

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011

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