The Engine Room of Continuous Improvement

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No Excuses

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” (Jim Rohn)

August 23, 2013 - No Semi Truck Parking – Violators Will Be Towed At Their Own Expense.

So why is this semi-tractor-trailer with an oversized load parked here? These are our best guesses at the response we’d get from the driver:

  • I didn’t see the sign.
  • I thought the sign only applied to the parking area on the OTHER side of the line. That’s why I parked on THIS side.
  • I was only going to be there for 10 minutes.
  • I asked the guy bringing carts back and he said it was okay.
  • I thought it meant no ‘overnight’ parking.
  • I had to use the restroom.
We snicker at these rather flimsy excuses; however, we all might have used our own version or two. Humans have a built-in tendency to rationalize behavior especially when someone points out our shortcomings. Think back over some of the projects that didn’t progress like you expected. Ever find yourself thinking –or saying– something like the following?
  • Nobody told me to do that. (I didn’t see the sign.)
  • I didn’t think that it applied to me. (I thought the sign only applied to the parking area on the OTHER side of the line. That’s why I parked on THIS side.)
  • I assumed that there was a little wiggle room in the metrics. (I was only going to be there for 10 minutes.)
  • She doesn’t want to implement it in her department yet, but had a great suggestion for a pilot in another department. (I asked the guy bringing carts back and he said it was okay.)
  • Well, we really didn’t have a good operational definition of what ‘success’ looked like. (I thought it meant no ‘overnight’ parking.)
  • I was assigned another project that was more urgent. (I had to use the restroom.)
Whether you’re a truck driver or a project leader, avoid getting towed at your own expense. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Be accountable.

-Ellen Milnes
Photo by Alison Smith

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