What can we do to stop the excuses?

For some reason, we homo sapiens have an innate tendency to make excuses.

  • Is it because we’re unable to accomplish a specific task and can’t/won’t admit it?
  • Is it because our reach exceeds our grasp … we strive to do more than is possible?
  • Do we believe it diminishes our value to admit our shortcomings?

All of the above?

At various times, it’s probably been each one of them.

What’s ironic is that we hate hearing excuses from others even though we struggle to refrain from using them ourselves.

Moreover, we genuinely appreciate it when others “come clean” … admit their mistake or missed deadline … but we still struggle to resist our own temptations.

The Solution?

I wish it was as easy as saying, “Stop Making Excuses”, but it’s not. But, there is a great starting point that can make a major difference in your teams and organization:

Create a Penalty-Free Environment

Create and sustain a “Penalty-Free Environment” where it’s okay to admit your mistakes … it’s okay to acknowledge where you’ve fallen short … and all of it is rendered in a place where you “Assume Positive Intent” and give everyone a chance to do better.

Not Excuses. Explanations & Insights

Encourage people to exchange those “excuses” for “insights” into how those failures can be turned around.

  • Is there additional information that would help your teammates make a better decision about what they can get done and when?
  • Are the right resources being deployed to accomplish that task or are you overwhelming certain resources over others?
  • Are you demanding a level of performance that forces team members to accept tasks where they’re certain to fall short or fail?

One way to better understand what’s going well and what needs to change is to be sure you’re implementing After Action Reviews, a great tool tool to getter at accomplishing goals and meeting deadlines.


You can make a big difference.  Establish a Penalty-Free Environment … “Assume Positive Intent” … and implement “After Action Reviews”.

Implement that program and turn excuses into results.

Leave a Reply