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On the Perils of Avoiding Accountability

Excuses Are Disempowering

The main reason we make excuses for poor performance is to absolve ourselves of responsibility. Making excuses doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility. It only demonstrates that you are struggling to own the outcome.

But excuses do even more harm. They disempower you.

You are creative, even if you are out of practice exercising your creativity. You are resourceful, or you have the power to be resourceful. You have a limitless imagination, even though you may have had it stomped out of you on your journey to adulthood.

Excuses rob you of the most powerful of all human attributes: resourcefulness (read: creativity, imagination, ideation, etc.)

Not Facing a Difficult Reality is Disempowering

If you are a leader, you may refuse to accept any excuses. You have no control over the economy. You have no control over how your competitors price their offerings. You have no control over dozens of factors that might be used as an excuse for poor performance. You shouldn’t accept these factors as excuses, if you’ve done your job well.

Not facing a difficult reality is the same as making an excuse. It disempowers you and your people. Yes the economy was soft and you still needed to make your number. But for you to be clean here, you would have had to provide the “how” necessary to overcome that factor. You can’t control your competitor’s pricing, but you do have to provide the strategy to combat their lower price offering in the marketplace.

Demanding performance without helping to provide the way forward because the problem is extraordinarily difficult is a dereliction of your duty. It’s your job to lead.

Empowered by Accountability

Owning an outcome is empowering. You get to exercise your resourcefulness, your creativity, and your imagination. You get the opportunity to exercise your professionalism in taking responsibility for getting things done. You get to make a contribution by tackling tough challenges–even if you fail.

Avoiding accountability means avoiding these positive outcomes. It also means avoiding growth.


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