An excuse is a verb most of the time seek to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); try to justify. An excuse itself is not a bad word it only depends on how you use it and how many times you use it. If an excuse is used as an apology for not getting something done while strategically planning to fix things, then it can be an okay excuse, not advised. The problem is when you become an expert of coming up with things every time you screw up and not being ready to learn from your mistakes.
Founders who embrace excuses are doomed to fail, they are not ready to learn or progress. It is very common to hear from startups founders this didn’t work because of that and that didn’t work because of this, and then left it to the client to figure out themselves.
“In football, the worst things are excuses. Excuses mean you cannot grow or move forward.”, Pep Guardiola.
Not only in football, in the startup world, excuses is the worst thing you can give. People don’t know you, don’t know your business, the only thing they care is what you can deliver to them. They expect nothing less than quality, 100 percent quality and efficiency. You can choose, do you want to be a CEO or ceo, Chief Executive Officer or a chief excuses officer of your startup. Who are the chief excuses officers?
- They have an excuse for everything, every time they fail to deliver a task.
- They blame everyone for their failures except themselves.
- They know everything and constantly suggest alternatives that make their own lives easier while disregards needs of the clients.
- They have time management crisis, they spent too much time creating excuses instead of getting things done.
- They love control and lives in a delusional world, loving startup life, watching too much startup movies and idea maniacs.
“It takes guts to realize you screwed up and to then come clean without any excuses” Brandon Webb. Say sorry, it won’t happen again, we have screwed up and we are working to fix things. It takes you less than 30 seconds to say those few words but they can be the game changer in your business. Learn to do these three things, learn very quick. Make sure you learn and measure progress throughout.
- Work with the client(investors, partners etc) throughout the process and constantly provide them with feedback on the work progress.
- Be quick on informing them when things are not working and when you need a support or change of strategy.
- Co-create on a new strategy (plan) with the client (partner, investor etc) so that you share the failures and learn together with them. Don’t blame.
Measuring your percentage level of excuses is very easy;
No. of Task Accomplished/ No. of Tasks Received * 100 Percent
On ideal condition when you have everything you need to do the task we expect more projects to be delivered on time without any excuse. If you are a service-oriented startup, the formula below can help you to assess your percentage level of excuses.
You can always change the variables with respect to your needs; if you are product-oriented startups you can assess the percentage of features you wanted to accomplish within a certain time span to the actual features you have managed to develop.
Note: The formula is not scientific is just required to motivate you to get your stuff done. It is working at least for me.
Changing is not easy, you can do it slowly. You don’t have to act like a victim every time you fail to deliver or when you disappoint your client (investor, partner etc). Break the bad habits and learn to say sorry and fix things. This is a fine line between professionals and non-professionals. Remember, we all make mistakes, what is important is what we decide to do after.
- Everyone who has allowed me to make mistake and learn from it.
- Joyce and Tunukiwa who have encouraged me to write this article.
- To my team, who always get stuff done without excuses.