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Friday, August 28, 2009

"No excuse, sir."

I was taught that, when I screwed up or my people screwed up and my boss wanted to know why, I had only one immediate answer: "no excuse, sir". I was accountable for my actions and those of the people under my supervision. I was acknowledging that accountability and making no excuses. Now, in most cases, unless I was just getting a good hard core butt-chewing where no explanation was wanted, I would be given a chance to explain what happened. There are times for explanations and there are times just for acknowledging accountability. There's never a time for excuses.

My point is this: as leaders, we need to stand up and be counted (this kind of goes along with my earlier post "your people"). We need to be mature and confident enough in our abilities and our values, that we don't hesitate to speak up when accountability is sought. Plus, what good are excuses anyway? They just make us look like we don't have a good handle on the situation or our team. They certainly don't move any initiative forward. Hopefully, we've been communicating often enough with our bosses, and both our and their expectations are properly aligned so we aren't even tempted to make excuses.

Is this too hard core an attitude? Is the "no excuse, sir" answer only applicable in an organization like the Army? Is there ever a good reason to make excuses?

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