“I was waiting for . . .” is not a valid excuse

July 24, 2013

Filed under: Leadership — jonathanpoisner @ 4:58 pm

Pet peeve of mine: Using “I was waiting for” as an excuse.

Too often somebody who’s not meeting a deadline responds that they’re failing because: “I was waiting for John Doe to do X first.”

Sometimes the precondition is totally legitimate.   They really needed John Doe to do X before they could do what they promised me.

But then too often the following exchange happens:

Me: “Why isn’t John Doe doing X.”

Them: “I emailed asking him to do X and I didn’t hear back.”

Me: “Did you pick up the phone and call John to confirm he got the email to make sure it’s getting done?”

Them: “No.”

Me: “When it was clear John wasn’t doing X by the time you needed X done, did you make any further effort beyond email to get X done by them or figure out another path forward?”

Them: “No.”



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