by @sgblank (Steve Blank) Think Growth – The No Excuses Culture
Making excuses instead of producing timely deliverables meant we were failing as an organization. We weren’t supporting the mission of the company (generate revenue and profit), and the lack of honesty diminished our credibility, and our integrity. …with no consequences our entire department acted as if schedules and commitments didn’t matter…
By accountable I meant, “We agreed on a delivery date, and between now and the delivery date, it’s OK if you ask for help because you’re stuck, or something happened outside of your control. But do not walk into my office the day something is due and give me an excuse. It will cost you your job.” That kind of accountable.
The goal wasn’t inflexible dates and deadlines, it was to build a culture of no surprises and collective problem solving.
…Asking for help, and/or saying you were stuck created cognitive dissonance for many people. Even as we publicly applauded those who asked for help, some just couldn’t bring themselves to admit they needed help until the day the project was due…
One other thing needed to be fixed before we could implement “no excuses.”… We quickly put in a capacity/priority planning process. Each marketing group, (product marketing, marcom, trade shows, etc.) calculated their number of available man-hours and budget dollars. Then every week each department stack-ranked the priority of the projects on their plate and estimated the amount of time and budget for each. …If we didn’t have the resources to support them, we helped them find resources outside the company. And finally, each of the projects we did accept had to align with the overall mission of the company and our department.
Over time, accountability, execution, honesty and integrity became the cornerstones of our communication with each other, other departments and vendors.
We became known as a high-performance organization as we delivered what said we would — on time and on budget.
- No excuses for failures given, just facts and requests for help
- No excuses for failures accepted, just facts, and offers to help
- Relentless execution
- Individual honesty and integrity