Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Leadership excuses just don’t work.

It wasn’t an interrogation although at the time it maybe felt like it. There was no light shining in my face. It was no lie detector test. It was just me on one side of the table and my leaders on the other. I felt a little flush, awkward, uncomfortable, the meeting was generating a healthy glow as my brow perspired.

A question came, ’So, how did it go?’
Answer, at a ridiculously fast pace, ’Great. It was great. Really good. Fantastic. All good.’
Reply, with a knowing lilt, ‘Really?’
Answer, more thoughtfully, ‘Well, it wasn’t my fault, I can explain, it shouldn’t have happened that way. The team didn’t handle it right. In actual fact, so-and-so messed up.’

It’s not my job
That was someone else
Yes, but I can explain
Didn’t know I had to
The team let me down
It wasn’t that bad really
I don’t have enough time
It wasn’t the right time
The effort wasn’t worth it
We are not ready
It wasn’t affordable

Excuses can come quickly and easily. For why things went wrong. For why we didn’t do something. I’ve probably used all of those listed above and more. Let’s be honest, we have all used them. We like to save face, to give reasons for non-action that sound reasonably plausible. Either way, when we get quizzed, it can be uncomfortable.

Excuses just demonstrate a lack of ownership, a lack of determination but they can also create a lack of progress too. Passing the blame is easier than taking responsibility. However, in doing so we lose credibility and eventually we will lose the right to lead others. Leaders can give away just about anything, except ultimate responsibility.

So, what have I learned on the journey when it comes to leadership and excuses. They don’t help me develop as a leader, except to learn that they don’t help me. After all, leadership is about getting things done and excuses are just reasons for why I haven’t got done what I said I would get done. Hope that makes sense.

What’s your favourite excuse?
How do you make sure to not allow excuses to stop you?

Enthusiasm v Excuses

Maybe it’s just me but you know what it can be like. That first rush of blood after you have heard about something, that immediate reaction that tells you that something must be done.

Enthusiasm burst forth. I’m gonna change the world.
Problem is I don’t know how to change the world. Challenge is to find the person who will lead the way. I would gladly follow someone else who knows what they are doing or can make things happen. Tell me what to do and I will do it. Unfortunately such a person doesn’t always exist so the enthusiasm swiftly dissipates and I revert to type, blend into the crowd. (Maybe they don’t exist because I am supposed to be that person but don’t want to admit it).

Excuses kick in. Too much, too far, too hard, too much time, too expensive, too dangerous, too hopeless, too weak, not from the right place. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Don’t allow your enthusiasm for what you believe God would have you to do be overwhelmed by excuses. Don’t allow the difficulty of doing something dampen your enthusiasm for it.

Be like the Apostle Paul who was seemingly invigorated by the obstacles (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

I have worked much harder.
Been in prison more often.
Flogged more severely.
Exposed to death again & again.
Five times received forty lashes minus one.
Three times beaten with rods.
Stoned.
Shipwrecked.
Night & day in the open sea.
Constantly on the move.
Danger from rivers, bandits, fellow countrymen
Danger in the city, the country, at sea, liars
Laboured without sleep.
Have know hunger, thirst, gone without food, been cold & naked.
Pressures from church concerns.

Now that’s some excuses to kill off any enthusiasm. Makes my poor excuses look incredibly weak in comparison.
Perhaps I could change the world. I’ll do it by starting to change my world, reaching out to those closest to me who are in need and seeing where God might take me as I am willing to be used.

No grand gestures.
No excuses.
Just one person becoming available.
Simple, small acts of kindness, whenever I can.

My prayer…
Lord, help me get over myself and use me. Help me to help others. To be an encourager, a listener, someone who brings hope, who has faith to believe YOU for some stuff. I don’t know where you might take me but I pray that you help me to be ready. Please don’t allow my excuses stop you from using me. Amen