2014’s Resolution - Embracing Performance Culture Over Excuses

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A new year is right around the corner as are another round of New Year resolutions. This year, we are going to commit to a performance culture and reject excuses and victim-based explanations for why certain goals and commitments aren’t met. Excuses are simple and deceptively attractive explanations for poor performance. It starts easy enough with blaming external forces: a teammate didn’t get a report done in time, we had an ice storm (Dallas recently suffered the great “ice-apocalypse” in early December), and “I just have too much to do.” If allowed to continue, excuses move further to challenging reality: “that’s not my job,” “I am not cut out for this,” and “someone else is stopping me from performing.”

In their book, “The ONE Thing: Surprisingly Simple Truth behind Extraordinary Results,” authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, provide a great contrast between performers and excuses. Accountable performers seek reality, acknowledge reality, own it, find solutions, and get on with it. Victims avoid reality, fight reality, blame, rely on personal excuses, and use wait and hope as a strategy.

I think the key to make this transition is living in the moment and addressing excuses as they arise. This requires productive conflict resolution and confrontation. In other words, teammates must hold each other accountable when they cross the line from performance to excuses.


The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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