The Business-Technology Weave

Jun 30 2010   12:22PM GMT

A Challenge to Success and Culture: The Excuse Factory

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott



The opposite of a Success Culture is not necessarily an “Unsuccess Culture” or a completely failing culture.  We’re all largely in organizations that are succeeding somehow, moving forward in time, achieving results with some measure of control. 


The opposite of the Success Culture is really “The  Excuse Factory” – it’s where the default attitude is one of negative griping and excuse making, instead of a managed and properly reinforced attitude of positivity, contribution, and forward momentum. 


There can be swirls of both cultures, and everything in between, throughout the organization, throughout projects, and throughout planning, etc. – there usually is.  But time spent in the Excuse Factory is time spent away from the job.  In  fact, people who inhabit the Excuse Factory are AWOL.  Excuses presented without ideas, gripes presented without solutions, engagements that do not move business forward, are empty time.  Now, we can recognize that everyone needs to gripe once in awhile.  But let people complain about the coffee, the weather, even about the size of their offices, desks or cubicles.  But so far as tasks and projects are concerned, the energy should be directed toward positive results and ultimate returns. 


We’re not trying to produce Pollyannas, nor are we attempting to put a political bias in place whereby we’re complimenting the bartender of the Titanic because we have plenty of ice for our drinks.  We want to reinforce prudent, positive,  people and culture so as to support efficiency and effectiveness.  As you work to emplace a Success Culture, realize that this culture becomes easier to achieve, and easier to maintain, as you reach a “tipping point” – that is, as more and more people get it, there will be fewer people to make excuses, as their attention and time is taken up by the seek of solutions.  As more and more people operate according to the ethics of success, your culture begins to reinforce and attract all of the elements for success:  Best personnel, best behavior, best practices, and best results.


A Success Culture is managed.  Success starts with a desire, and then a will, to succeed – supported by appropriate missions, values, beliefs and standards.  It is the organization that must show itself as being committed to success.  No one can be expected to believe in something that the organization doesn’t evidence itself as believing in.  Therefore, the organization must close any divides between diminished expectations for success, and success itself.


The organization must formally recognize success with real encouragement, reward, and promotion.  The organization, from the top on down, must identify and communicate its commitment to the values, beliefs, and standards that it holds as being necessary to best outcomes.  Too, those things and people that inhibit success must be managed and corrected – or removed.


The expectation of success is self-reinforcing.  Create the culture that ennobles and enhances your mission.  People, within and with-out the organization, will know that excellence is the bar.  People will self-regulate in concert with your organization’s guides, emphasis and practices.  Thus, in rare instances where activity or expectations are cloudy, people will presume excellence as the bar, based on the entirety of your success culture’s known expectations.


Your organization is already a Business-Technology Weave; now weave excellence and ultimate success into the whole of the enterprise.


June 30th:  On this day in 1953, the first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI.  It sold for $3,250.

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