One of the reasons I love doing culture assessments is that it allows us to share the kind truth about what is keeping an organization stuck. The insights shed light on the (often subtle) attitudes and beliefs that prevent a team from moving forward or gaining traction. One of the most common culprits is a culture of excuses.
A few weeks ago, I was sharing our culture assessment with an executive team. Of course when we were covering the positive findings, they gladly took credit for their hard work and engagement. When the discussion shifted to the not-so-good-news, so did their response. Suddenly there was a litany of excuses (or what they called explanations) about why things are in their current state.
The thing about excuses is that there’s a fine line between an explanation and an excuse. Here’s what the dictionary says: Explanation – (noun) the act of explaining; making something plain or intelligible.
Excuse – (noun) a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.
The operative word here is ‘defense.’ What I find, is that when people feel a need to defend their staff, their policies, or anything that creates a patient experience failure, it’s easy to slip into excuses. Leaders must remain vigilant in order to keep from letting explanations become excuses.
Florence Nightingale said it best. “I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any
Is your culture too accepting of excuses?