Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do Not Prepare Excuses First

When I was working in a Japanese electronics company, I saw many people who were reluctant to participate in a new trial. In a competitive situation involving salary raises and position promotions, the best method for ensuring one's salary and position is to not make any mistakes. The best approach for not making any mistakes is to do nothing. However, there is a problem. If one does nothing, he may not make a mistake, but neither will he make himself stand out from the crowd. What can he do? He can create excuses in order to prepare for his failure. Then, a person would be armed with thousands of reasons for his failure. In this way, he would be able to justify any failure.

This is a little different from taking a constructive approach to being prepared for the worst scenario, because building logical excuses is not constructive. In the process of preparing excuses, a person will have to imagine how things can go wrong. Therefore, he is subconsciously imprinting the failure pattern in his brain. If one is serious about being successful in his trial, this is the worst approach. Although a person can avoid losing face or losing his position, he will also diminish his chances of success in the attempt. He would hope to be successful if he tried something new, right? I would.

Taro was an assistant manager in a software company.

He was good at blaming others for his project failures. He made his colleagues responsible for the results and accused their venders. He also made his subordinates scapegoats. Therefore, he avoided direct responsibility for his failures. A big project caught his attention because with it he might obtain a promotion. He could expect a significant raise if he succeeded. However, by that time, he had become infamous for his excuses. Therefore, Taro's boss did not recommend him to the company's management, and he could not get the job he wanted because of his excuses.

Obviously, there is doubt about how to effectively prepare an excuse. Repeating excuses could backfire as in Taro's case. I have seen my colleague's boss call him "Cry-Wolf Peter" because of his many excuses. Management tends to favor subordinates who try their best. When they fail, they should accept responsibility and apologize. Using too many excuses is like digging your own grave. In addition, in the cases of self-employed people or entrepreneurs, there is no reason for preparing excuses. We try and either succeed or fail. If we fail, we analyze the reasons and try again.

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