SBM Articles


No-Excuses Culture

by Jonathan Jones

Leaders are responsible for everything that happens under their watch. If they make a mistake, it is their fault. Being at fault is not a bad thing. It is part of taking responsibility. When mistakes happen, a strong leader takes responsibility and takes action to improve the situation. A strong organization sees mistakes as an opportunity for improvement. They take responsibility for what happened, learn from the experience, and share the lessons learned through new procedures and training.

When ineffective leaders make excuses or tolerate excuses, they set the culture up for failure. Employees look to blame others. They stop taking responsibility for problems. Employees may become apathetic or passive-aggressive.

By assuming responsibility for everything under your watch, you demonstrate leadership. In addition, you develop leaders underneath you. Employees assume responsibility for their area of influence and become problem-solvers.

Here are some steps you can take to establish a no-excuses culture:
• Set a clear vision for your culture. Be clear that you are a no-excuses culture.
• Define clear roles and responsibilities. Make sure everyone knows that they are accountable. Make sure everyone is trained in their area or has a mentor or coach to develop them.
• Teach everyone problem identification, tracking and problem-solving methodologies so they understand problem-solving is part of the culture.
• Encourage decisions to be made at the lowest level.
• Identify and celebrate great examples of problem-solving that occur in the organization.
•Fire people who make it a habit of making excuses. If they cannot assume responsibility, they cannot improve. This may seem harsh, but they made the decision to not take responsibility.

You get what you expect, and you get what you except. What do your employees see from you?

Jonathan Jones ( or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.
Submitted 1 years 263 days ago
Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
Views: 622