Why Things Don’t Get Done At Your Business
The company hired a new employee. He was young, inexperienced but willing to work hard. The first day on the job he was sitting at his desk reading through the policy manual when out of nowhere someone down the hall shouted out “56!” and everyone in the office roared with laughter. A few seconds later someone yelled out “22!” and once again the office roared!
The next day the same thing happened about the same time. This time it was different people and different numbers. But, the end result was the same, everyone laughing and clapping hands! This went on all week, and the second week on the job, the new comer decided he would get in on the action. That day, after the second number was shouted out and the laughter followed it, he took the bold step of shouting out “43!” only to hear a deafening silence. Once again he shouted out “98!” and heard nothing. He was crushed. That afternoon he was called in to his supervisor’s office and told that he was not to participate in the afternoon session. He was told that he hadn’t been on the job long enough to be guilty of an excuse for not getting things done.
A few weeks back I spoke to a group of business owners and asked them why things didn’t get done around their places of business. Here were their responses:
1. Unscheduled customer calls
3. “I’m too busy”
5. Lack of time management
6. Don’t know where to start
7. Lack of money
8. Reluctance to delegate
9. The copy machine is broken
10. Lost the file
11. Fear of failure
12. Fear of success
13. Loss of revenue
16. Employee absences
20. Dog is sick and ate the paperwork
21. Email and Internet are distracting
22. Personal “to do list” gets in the way
23. Playing hooky
24. Project is too big
25. Don’t like the assigned job
26. The task is beneath me
27. Hope that the task will disappear
28. Don’t get paid enough to do that job
29. That’s someone else’s job
30. Possible war
31. “I’m leaving early”
32. “I’m arriving late”
33. “I’ need help”
34. “I don’t know what to do”
35. Left my briefcase at home
Each of these 35 items (and I am sure that with a little thought you can come up with hundreds more) is nothing more than an excuse. That’s right, an excuse.
The reason that most people don’t want to tackle a new task is that it is out of their comfort zone. It is up to those in charge to explain not only why the job needs to get done, but how it helps either the organization. It goes without saying that it might help the individual, because it expands their horizons and capabilities.
In a free market society you cannot just order people to do things. People will balk even if a paycheck is at stake if they do not see the logic or merit of a task. Some selling might be involved. To do this function, patience is needed.
Another piece that needs to be laid out clearly is the ultimate goal of the assignment. People need to see how the things they do fit into the bigger picture. This aspect may also require selling and patience. Providing a road map may not be easy, but it is necessary when dealing with a dedicated and educated workforce.
I encourage you to sit down with all of those you work with and make your numbered list of excuses. Hopefully it will not turn into a daily joke, but instead, a learning experience so that more is done at your place of business, without the excuses.