I Hate Excuses

Do you want to know why?

Because I used to make them myself.

Whenever there was something that I didn’t want to do, I’d try to come up with some excuse to not do it.  Whenever there was some job that needed to get done, sometimes I thought more about why I shouldn’t have to do it than putting my mind to the task of actually getting the task done.

You know what I’ve learned?

Excuses are lame (especially when I am the one making them).  They make you seem like you haven’t really been trying in the first place.

I’ve been trying to get something fixed, and all I keep hearing are reasons why it can’t be fixed or how hard it is going to be.  Just get it done, or at least put a good faith effort into trying to fix it.  I guess part of my frustration in this particular instance is that I have to trust that they are putting a good effort into fixing the issue.

But back to the matter at hand.  Stop making excuses and do something.  If it doesn’t work or gets you nowhere, do something else to put you on the right path.

Managing by Context

There was a great slideshow about how Netflix deals with the management of their company.  Lots of good stuff including a question that should be asked of a supervisor every so often in order to get a sense of where you stand and what you need to do; “If I told you I were leaving, how hard would you work to change my mind to stay?”

One slide really struck a chord with me:

Managers: When you are tempted to “control” your people, ask yourself what context you could set instead

Are you articulate and inspiring enough about goals and strategies?

I tend to try to be an efficient person.  Being efficient doesn’t always lend itself to laying out good context for the people that I supervise.  I make the mistake of assuming that they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it and then blame them for not getting the job done.

I tend to be someone who wants those I supervise to take an idea and run with it, but this is one area in which I could use some work as I tend to want to know everything that happens.  This is one skill that I would like to hone.  It may not even be how I manage that needs to change, just the context that I put directions:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Author of The Little Prince