What’s Your Excuse for Poor Performance?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On July 18, 2016

Business-Success- What-Are-You-Waiting-For?Sometimes business owners get stalled. The want to move forward but there is something that prohibits them from doing so. They’re waiting for the right opportunity. Or maybe they’re waiting for the right partner to team up with.

What’s interesting is that there always seems to be an excuse for poor performance. Maybe it’s not as lame as, “That new app we were counting on didn’t release on time so we can’t move forward!” but there are some real doozies out there. And lest you think that it’s just the little guys that come up with excuses for their poor performance, rest assured that some of the big boys are just as bad at dodging responsibility.

Not long ago, Fortune published an article that highlighted 5 unusual excuses for a bad quarter. You can read the whole article here, but let me give you a summary of some of the excuses some of the biggest and best in the business world gave for not hitting their goals.

  1. Tesla listed customer vacations as a big reason they missed the sales goal for one quarter
  1. Travelers Companies blamed their poor financial performance (a 21% drop in quarterly profits) on the “polar vortex” (in all fairness, so did 22 other companies!)
  1. Societe Generale is a French bank that saw their third-quarter profits dip by 86% in 2012 and blamed it on “stupid accounting requirements”
  1. Oracle, IBM, and TIBCO all blamed poor profits on “crappy salespeople.” To be honest Oracle actually cited poor execution in the training of their sales force
  1. Netflix missed their subscriber growth projections and blamed it on customers transition to chip-based credit and debit cards

The thing is, there are almost always excuses. And most of the time, they’re not helpful. At least the folks at Oracle were on the right track. They cited something specific that was under their control and (more or less) accepted responsibility.

What’s your excuse when you fall short of your business goals? The thing is that you don’t need to have an excuse. What you do need is to be able to point to causes that you can control—and then fix them. That’s why a regular activity such as reviewing your SWOT analysis is so important. And why it’s essential to be honest in your evaluation.

Don’t focus on fixing blame. Focus on finding the cause and fixing the problem. That’s what will move you ahead. Nobody wants to hear your excuses.