Friday, May 17, 2013

Lean Quote: Leadership Takes Away Excuses

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"The coach’s (leaders) job is to take excuses away from the player – no travel problems, no equipment problems, no bad practices, no bad game plans – so that there is nowhere for the player to look but in the mirror." — Former Hockey Coach Barry Melrose

Many businesses will face immense challenges on the road to success. They will also be presented with opportunities to overcome these challenges. Don’t squander your potential with self-imposed limitations. Don’t make excuses for why you cannot engage more fully. Capitalizing on your chances is a matter of empowering employees by removing roadblocks for the greater good of the business.

Leaders are leaders because they break down the barriers inhibiting performance and motivate to achieve results. Even if not the experts, they learn to coordinate with the key people who can accomplish the task.

When you hear lots of excuses from your employees, it means they’re under the impression that you’re blaming them or about to blame them. The simple resolve is to say, “I’m not interested in fixing any blame, I’m only interested in fixing the problem.”
The moment you hear an excuse, your concern has to be fixing the issue.

Effective coaching is about identifying ways to overcome the true barriers to performance; these are often deep seated value-based limiting factors, which cannot be underestimated. The most effective leaders "take away excuses"--creating accountability and high performance, instead of just talking about it.

So, have you created a Lean environment free of excuses? I’d like to hear how you have addressed excuses.

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