Someone said there are two responses to clear expectations; excuses and results. I have heard my share of excuses as to why something did not get done. Dan Rockwell shares some very insightful thoughts on “Excuse-Making.”

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

Excuses are an attempt to lower expectations.

When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done!

Excuse makers are explaining why you should accept lackluster performance. It’s dangerous, degrading, and demoralizing.

Excuse makers don’t want you to expect too much from them.

Excuse-making is:

  1. Disrespect for talent that produces resentment toward others. When you only put half of yourself into something, you disrespect yourself and those around you.
  2. Lack of enthusiasm, even while feigning commitment.
  3. Disregard for preparation, diligence, and enthusiasm.

Lack of enthusiasm, when tolerated, becomes apathy in the end.

Answering the top 4 excuses leaders hear:

Answering the “I didn’t have time” excuse:

3 sources of the excuse, “I didn’t have time:”

  1. They let others run their lives. Kind hearted people overcommit.
  2. They don’t know how to set priorities.
  3. They are pretending to be committed.

3 questions for those who didn’t have time:

  1. Would you like to develop your ability to manage time?
  2. If you had enough time, what would you have done differently?
  3. What are you doing that matters less?

Answering the “I’m not ready” excuse:

  1. What are you ready to do?
  2. If you were ready, what would be true of you?
  3. What will doing nothing achieve for you?

Answering the “It’s just the way I am” excuse:

  1. How are you different from 10 years ago?
  2. How did you change?
  3. What does your personal growth tell you about change?

Answering the “I’m afraid I might fail” excuse:

  1. When have you overcome fear in the past? What did you do?
  2. How might you apply what you learned to this situation?
  3. Who might help?

Lack of commitment:

When one excuse follows another, stop addressing excuses. Start exploring commitment.

Try asking, “How committed, on a scale of 1 to 10, are you to this project? How might you take your commitment to the next level?”

Tip: Address lack of commitment by assigning responsibilities to someone who is committed.

How might leaders deal with excuse-makers?

What are some common excuses people make?