I hope everyone enjoyed their extended Labor Day weekend. I had a great one but am glad to be back within the labor force today.
The other night I watched one of the few reality TV shows that I enjoy, Bar Rescue. Bar Rescue consist of an industry professional, Jon Taffer, who goes around visiting failing bars and pubs across the country. He works with the owners and employees to diagnose and fix their problems and give them advice on how to get their given businesses moving in the right direction.
As I was watching the latest episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer had just completed his initial walk through of the latest pub he was assigned to help turn around. Even to the untrained eye it was obvious that this bar had problems. Filthy grease buildup in the kitchen, holes in the wall and unkempt and rude waitstaff seemed to be the norm in this particular pub. However, each time Jon Taffer pointed out any of the aforementioned problems the owner was quick with an excuse for both his and his staffs’ performance. Kitchen not cleaned? Well, we clean as often as time will allow. The waitresses lack of grooming and adequate dress? We have a very casual dress code. Why is your staff so rude? We haven’t had much professional training. And on and on and on.
After about three rapid fire excuses Taffer told the owner that there was no helping him and appeared ready to move on to his next show. Startled, the owner pleaded with him to stay and wanted to know what had offended Taffer. Taffer quickly pointed out to the owner that he had “excused himself to fail”.
I really liked the way Jon Taffer put it. In what years we have been in business I have noticed that the very best employees never make excuses. Sure they make mistakes but they never make excuses. Actually, most of the great employees we have been fortunate to employ have gone out of their way to accept blame for problems within their particular area of the company. When I hear someone make an excuse I immediately think to myself that they will probably repeat that same mistake in short order because they see no fault of their own. However, when I hear an employee say something such as “I really have no excuse for not getting that done” or “I really messed that up and I am sorry”, well. . . I think that sounds like a good employee who is getting even better. It is obvious they are learning from their mistakes which is an integral part of being a star employee.
Let’s all work to “bite our tongue” as we catch ourselves making excuses for our mistakes. It takes practice but, with effort, can become a way of life.
Have a great rest of the week! — Luke
“He that is good for making excuses is rarely good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin