Creating a No Excuses Culture

June 25, 2014
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Employees with excuses hold small businesses back. They’ll leave you struggling to keep your head above water, instead of focusing on expansion and innovation. As a small business owner, I’ve heard them all over the years from, ‘That’s not my job’, to ‘My schedule is already overloaded’ to ‘It’s not my fault, I’ve been waiting on so and so..’
We can and do tolerate this on a daily basis but that’s not going the help the business and at the end of the day that doesn’t help you or your staff.
I decided to undertake the challenge a while back to stamp this out and embed a no excuses culture in our office.  It started, (probably a year after it should have), with the management team setting out what the focus and vision for the business going forward would be then outlining specific and measurable goals to move us toward them.
It was then a matter of having the discipline to embed this change through our company and get the buy in from staff. Involving our staff in weekly progress meetings helped keep everyone motivated and gave each member of staff a greater feeling of responsibility and accountability, giving staff the opportunity to present their work to their peers encouraged them to go that extra step.
We have in time noticed a shift in staff mentality towards a more productive, happy and accountable team. Here are a few tips from my own experience that helped us implement this change.
Can’t Meet the Deadline? Don’t Keep It a Secret
Most employees deal with the following affliction: when it becomes clear that a deadline can’t be met, they frantically try and put something together until failure is a certainty. It’s only at this point that they tell managers or clients that they’re going to come up short.
This is undoubtedly one of the worst decisions your employees can make in terms of the business – yet it’s one of the most common. Managers are saddled with problems, while clients are left without their expectations met. Employees must be open with issues early, even if it exposes a ‘mistake’ on their part.
Think of Alternatives
When you can’t find a straightforward solution, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that it just can’t be done. But thinking outside the box can give you a range of alternatives that can make things happen even if you’re ‘just’ a small business.
For example, larger jobs can often be seen as incompatible with small businesses. However, automation through software, outsourcing, the implementation of clear and effective processes can allow even the one-man band to do something you’d expect from an entire team.
Have a little faith
When challenges crop up seemingly out of nowhere, employees have a tendency to give up quickly. Excuses are sought, problems snowball, and your company doesn’t move forward.
When you lead your team with a sense of confidence that they will get the job done no matter what and maintain positive expectations of everyone involved from top to bottom you will be surprised how much your staff will come to the party.
Lead By Example
Finally, this bit of advice is reserved for you as the business owner. You can’t expect your employees to abide by your purported ‘no excuses’ culture if you succumb to the very thing you’re trying to stamp out of your organisation.
So whenever problems or challenges arrive, roll up your sleeves and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Do the jobs that need to be done regardless of what they are occasionally. Your no excuses attitude will rub off on your team.

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