While working in the food service industry I thought I had heard every excuse in the book. As a matter of fact I was going to write a book of excuses! But that was before I started hearing excuses from party plan hostesses and my team!
Excuses For Not Doing Something
One thing I learned when dealing with dishwashers, cooks, and wait staff was that if a person has more than one excuse then they are lying. If someone gives you several excuses for not doing something then they are doing exactly that: giving you excuses.
“The bathtub fell through the kitchen ceiling and my wife does not speak English and the plumber was not done yet.” A good reason is only one! “The bathtub fell through the kitchen ceiling so I could not make it to work!” is really all that needs said! If you have a good reason you do not need a good excuse!
The first step in overcoming excuses from anyone, whether it is your team, your hostess or your kids, is to stop accepting it. We have a tendency to just wave it off with a flip answer. We often say things that imply that it is OK. We may not exactly say, “That is OK!” but often say things that are equally as accepting.
Don’t validate them by acting like it is OK to give the excuse.
Stop accepting the excuse and start conveying a sense of disappointment! When we were kids and our parents said, “I am so disappointed in you” we felt more hurt by that than we would if a punishment had been given.
You do not need to say exactly, “I am so disappointed in you,” but expressing disappointment for the excuse and also conveying how it may be affecting them, the future, the team, and others involved will go more toward not having it happen again.
Instead of accepting the excuse and validating them, ask the tougher questions and expect a better future.
Excuses For Not Working Their Business
When someone gives you excuses, instead of acting as if it is OK, have a conversation about the problem using the 10 second rule.
In this example we assume a team member gave you several excuses why she cannot go to a vendor event (again)!
You say: “I am really disappointed that you cannot make it to the vendor event because I know how important it is to you to find more bookings. Is that something you are still interested in?”
Express your disappointment and always end in a question that is leading toward a solution. Make sure that you are quiet until they answer.
Another example is: “I am really disappointed that you cannot be with us! We had so much fun at the last vendor event and everyone got 3 or 4 bookings on their calendar. I am so disappointed that you cannot make it. Are you still interested in growing your business?”
They may say: “Yes, I do want more bookings.” So you follow with: “Well, cool! This is the one of the best ways to fill your calendar. What is preventing you from going?” And so on.
The conversation continues. Each time you provide clarifying information and end in a question. At the end of the conversation express an expectation for the future. “I filled my calendar for the next three months at the event, our next vendor event is March 26th and we would love to have you join us. Why don’t you mark your calendar now and start working on the babysitter issues…”
How To Overcome Excuses For Not Doing Something
When a specific team member is always offering up an excuse for not doing something, the key to overcoming that is to follow these steps.
- Stop saying it’s OK
- Express disappointment
- Ask questions that bring you closer to solutions for the future
- Set expectations for the future
When you work through this process, you may not solve the problem of the person who is not doing what they said they will do, but you will have a chance for better results next time. When a team member realizes that you are not accepting excuses, they will either stop offering them or stop participating.
Either way, they are not using as much of your time! Don’t give more time to someone else’s business than they are.
Never give advice on personal issues but remember that when someone is always coming up with an excuse rather than real reasons, you may have to bless and release.
This article was originally published by Home Party Plan Training Center
Published: December 6, 2013