Leaders, in any arena, make no excuses. And it’s just that simple. But for most of us, admitting we make excuses is hard to do. This is partly because we don’t even hear the excuses come out of our mouths! But trust me, they sound like this:
- The salesperson with poor results insists, “But boss, my territory is different from all the others.”
- The manufacturing person complains, “If only the salespeople could sell what we make.”
- The small business owner laments, “If the government would just cut back on their regulations, I could succeed.”
- The executive wonders, “Why won’t people catch the vision?”
- The manager says, “I need better people.”
- The departing employee asserts, “But you didn’t train me.”
- The young parent dismisses their child’s out-of-control behavior saying, “He’s just strong-willed.”
- The student laments, “If my teachers were fair, my grades would be better.”
- The nonprofit claims, “If people were more generous, we could meet our fundraising goals.”
Excuse-making is everywhere—and is often raised to an art form. While using the book QBQ! with his team, an executive at a major phone company asked, “What needs to change around here for you to achieve more?” The responses?
Better systems. Other people’s attitudes. Our approval processes. Budgets. Communication. Products. More tools and training are needed!
Wouldn’t it be powerful—and refreshing—to instead hear this answer: “I own the result. No excuses.” Living a NO EXCUSES life is exciting. When I’m willing to take personal accountability—the opposite of excuse-making—my effectiveness increases, goals are achieved, and excellence comes. And those are worthy outcomes. My wife, Karen, and I recently wrote Parenting the QBQ Way—and here’s what’s funny: When we sent out an email announcing the book, we got back a bunch of emails saying, “Thank you, Millers! Just what I need—a book to help me hold my child accountable.” I wonder how challenged these readers were when they read this line in the book:
My children are a product of my parenting.
Whether I run a family or a business—or work for the person who does—personal accountability is not for others. It is for me. And until I embrace that idea, I cannot be called “leader.” Only you know if you’ve made any excuses at work or at home recently. If so, identify them, admit to them, and ask The Question Behind the Question—the QBQ: “What can I do to own the result?” That great question will lead to great answers.
Question: How valuable do you see QBQ! being in your life?