Great Things Result When You Refuse to Accept Excuses

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Excuses can seem like perfectly plausible reasons for not doing something you said you’d do, but over time, if no one calls you on them, they can be habit-forming.

And accepting excuses from employees is a surefire way to encourage repetition of the behavior as well as to demoralize staffers who do meet their commitments.

Do you think it matters to a customer that you have “a good excuse” for the rude behavior of the customer service rep? Does it make it okay with your client that you have “a good excuse” for missing the delivery date?

Refusing to entertain excuses

Managers who achieve great results refuse to entertain excuses. Rather than excuses, high-achievers look at the facts that may require a change of approach, but they never make excuses.

A planning oversight or an new set of circumstances don’t mean you abandon your goal. They just mean that the results will have to be achieved in a different way.

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If you are an “excuse-aholic” or let employees repeatedly get away with this behavior, don’t beat yourself up. Just decide that from this moment on, you will no longer accept excuses.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at


2 Comments on “Great Things Result When You Refuse to Accept Excuses

  1. This needs to be tempered with healthy doses of reality and empathy. I had the unfortunate experience of having a manager that never accepted excuses, ever. “Yes, your sales target is 3 times what it was last year and no one in the company has hit their target in months. Stop giving me excuses and start giving me results.” Motivation shot down like a rock.

  2. Great article and i do agree with Nick. Excuses are not acceptable definitely but managers expectations got to be realistic and company to have sufficient support for the employees to hit the kpi as well. At times employees do face obstacles and situations that hinder their performance. Is a consistent communication process between both parties to set the organization goals and hit it together.

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