Whether you’re leading an organization or are part of a cross-functional team, working with people is like riding a rollercoaster. Sometimes, you’re climbing in unison together, full of nervous energy as you anticipate the thrill of cresting that hill. Other times, everything goes willy-nilly. Some folks love the ride and want to go again. Some are scared but heading in the same direction. Others just want off the ride as soon as possible. They may say that they didn’t want to go on the ride in the first place… that someone else “made them do it.”
It reminds me of the old “dog ate my homework” excuse. At some point, I’m sure almost everyone has dropped the ball on something. We’re all human, after all. No one is perfect. But here, people diverge. Some people own up to the mistake, take responsibility and let you know how they will to do better next time. They have a plan and a direction.
Others take a different approach. It’s painful to admit you made a mistake or let someone down. So instead, they take the path of least pain. They come up with an excuse.
- “The e-mail didn’t make it through… darn internet!”
- “The cell phone doesn’t get good reception, and I missed the call. Darn phone company!”
- “Traffic was awful , and it made me late. Darn 405 freeway!”“
- The dog ate my business plan!”
Maybe the e-mail or call really didn’t make it through. Maybe traffic was a beast. Maybe the dog has an affinity for paper products. So what? Your client doesn’t care. It isn’t their problem. It’s yours. People make excuses for so many reasons. They may want to let someone down easy or don’t want to let anyone down at all. They don’t want to get in trouble or may want to save face. Maybe the excuses are true. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.
Making excuses is the path of least pain. It’s the easy way. But how are you ever going to win trust, build real relationships or achieve great success if you are always taking the easy way out? It takes a lot more determination and bravery of heart, soul and spirit to choose the harder path. On that road, there are no excuses, just accountability. There is no hiding, but instead you’re taking the lead. You own your mistakes and also your future success.
The happiest and most successful people in the world have no need for excuses. If they mess up, they own it, apologize and do it better next time and again and again… until there is no need for excuses.
Until they win.
Until they’re celebrating the thrill of the ride.
Proud Mom, climbing the Corporate ladder one day at a time. I build relationships. Day Job: SVP and Experience Fanatic. Life Job: Mom to two Awesome Humans. Love Garth Brooks and Zedd. Follow me @Marci_Francisco