The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown created an uncertain future for businesses across the country, including manufacturers.
Regardless of this rocky situation, though, the best business leaders will make sure they don’t allow the pandemic to become an excuse for failure.
I admire leaders who don’t complain about circumstances or point the finger at someone or something else.
No, business leaders didn’t create the circumstances that led to the pandemic and its aftermath, but it is their responsibility to get their businesses and their people through the challenges they now face.
Whenever you’re leading an organization, the ultimate responsibility for any failure is yours. It may be because you failed to train people properly or because you failed to hire the right person. It may be because you failed to develop a proper strategy or because you failed to develop the right culture. It’s ultimately your failure, and no excuse can ever absolve you of the responsibility of personal ownership.
This is a mindset I learned in my days as a West Point cadet, where excuses were not allowed. To be successful in the coming months, business leaders need to do the following.
• Set an example. Ultimately, you would like everyone in your organization to take responsibility and refuse to make excuses. But you can’t expect that if you aren’t willing to set the example and claim responsibility for any failures yourself. The best leaders take the high road and there is no throwing anyone under the bus. Setting an example will have a constant impact on your employees, and they will know they can rely on you and depend on you.
• Do a little introspection. If you feel the urge to make an excuse for any failed business performance, look inward instead and ask yourself the following questions: Could I have acted differently to prevent this outcome? What could I have done to better improve the end result? How did my actions or inactions play a part in the failure? I guarantee that if you do this and are honest with yourself, you will inevitably find a linkage for errors, disappointments, and fiascos directly back to yourself.
• Take ownership. People don’t understand just how much they affect others when they make the decision to take responsibility for any and all actions. We must own what we do, and we have to own what others under our command or influence do, even though it might be miles away from us and somebody else is executing the plan. When you get up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror, are you owning what you are doing, or are you making excuses?
Making excuses — whether it’s in the crisis we now face or some other situation — will lead to dead ends. I have seen time and time again that when people take control of their lives and eliminate the excuses, a life of excellence and fulfillment is the end result.
Troy Nix (www.troynix.com), motivational speaker and author of “Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others,” is the founder and CEO of First Resource, Inc., an association management company for U.S. manufacturers.