There are people with results and there are people with excuses.
Sometimes excuses are valid. Life throws everyone curve balls. Some excuses are creative, providing entertainment at the self-inflicted cost to the giver’s reputation. Your consumers, leaders or peers don’t care about your resume, GPA or where you went to school as much as they care about your actions, words and thoughts, in that order. Excuses are brand damagers that will become your brand if you are a repeat offender.
An excuse tells people where our priorities fall. Here are five excuses the people around you are tired of hearing.
1. I didn’t get your message. You can call, text, email and direct message your contacts. Having so many forms of communication is meant to make our lives easier, not more confusing. Spend 10 minutes at the end of the day to check all texts, voice-messages and emails. If you really didn’t get a message, let the sender know the best ways and times to contact you in the future.
2. There wasn’t enough time. This translates to “there were priorities more important than this one.” If those priorities are valid, be prepared to share them. If they aren’t valid, be sure to explain where your time was spent and how there can be a more efficient course of action in the future.
3. Internet was down. This excuse will become extinct within 10 years, when everyone possess a smart phone and every coffee shop, gas station and highway has Wi-Fi. As much as we rely on this world-changing technology, we cannot blame it for why we don’t get stuff done. Go to the library while they still exist.
4. Traffic was terrible. Traffic is not a valid excuse unless your car was caused the accident. This excuse is the worst with repeat offenders. Leave earlier. Make a habit of being 10 minutes early to every meeting. If you have a “10 minutes early” reputation, the rare traffic excuse is credible.
5. I had a “rough” night. You can do whatever you want the night before a meeting, as long as you are bright-eyed and sharp in the morning. If your tardiness or constant head-bobbing isn’t a tip off, then your hangover trifecta of coffee, vitamin water and Red Bull might be. Not many people will speak this excuse but it can be evident when your focus level is off.
When results aren’t there take responsibility for your actions by stating what took priority and what you will do in the future to ensure success. If you are managing someone who is giving you more stories than Walt Disney then confront them with specific facts and have them give you the answer on what they will do in the future to change the behavior.