Avoid Complaining, Explaining and Blaming


During a regular monthly meeting, the general manager (GM) prodded division manager Darrel Winston.  “Darrel,” said the GM, “your actual- to-planned revenue is underwater.”

“I know,” complained Darrel,” I’m dealing with some new customer contacts and they are questioning everything.  Every time new people come on board, they think they have to rework our agreements.”

The next month, Darrel is behind again and he explained, “Well, it took me awhile to reassure my new contacts.  That has caused a delay in approving shipments.  I think my numbers will look pretty good next month.”

But Darrel’s numbers did not look so good the following month and Darrel blamed regulations.  “The new environmental regulations are ridiculous.  I’ve spent a full two weeks compiling data to meet some bureaucrat’s red tape demands.”

Low performers who react by complaining, explaining or blaming see themselves as victims–as in “Woe is me; I must be the unluckiest human on the planet.”

Victims are not motivated to change their behaviors.  Rather, they focus on selling their victimhood and escaping accountability.   From low performers, I want to hear sincere commitments to improve supported by thoughtful actions intended to put a charge in their performance.

As one wit said, “Just because you can explain what happened does not mean that you get to keep your job.”

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