Thursday, January 13, 2011

lame excuses

(excerpt from the book Let my people go surfing by Yvon Chouinard)

"I wish I could help you but..." How many times have you heard service persons say those words when you know they don't mean it and are just being lazy? 

"I wish I could give you a baked potato instead of rice, but we have a no substitution policy here." or, "I wish we could do it, but our insurance policy won't allow it." Why not just do it anyway? or get another insurance policy or don't even have insurance? Get out of the kitchen if you can't stand the heat.

"We can't get any more fabric (or aluminium or whatever)." Substitute another material; try another mill or fifty or a hundred mills. Try mills in other countries; call a competitor and find out where it get its fabric.

"I've called and called, but I can't get through." How many times have you really called? Three or four times? Call twenty times. Or try a telegram or a registered letter, or catch him at home with a 5:00 A.M. wake-up call. 

"The computer screwed up." At least people didn't have this one fifty years ago! Computers don't screw up; people screw up. Garbage in, garbage out. "All the computer terminals are tied up." This may be true, but may be the job could have been done on a typewriter or with a yellow no. 2 Eberhard Faber.

"I didn't have the time" or "I've been too busy" to answer your letter, to return your call, to write a weekly report, to clean my desk, whatever. This is a dishonest excuse. What the person really means is that the job didn't get done because it had the lowest priority, and in fact he may never return your call because he really doesn't want to. People do what they want to do.

Lastly, "Impossible." The lamest of the lame excuses! Difficult may be, or impractical, or too expensive, but rarely is anything impossible. 


When I read the above set of paragraphs on people giving lame excuses I was like, oh damn! yeah! 

Maintaining the sense of urgency throughout a company is one of the most difficult challenges in business. The problem gets more challenging when we have to depend on others who are outside the system. And when you depend on such people who may not have the same sense of expediency, you have hit a problem. They give lame excuses just like the above set of examples!


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