The Corporate Law Group

Reasons Don’t Matter

We’ve probably written about this before but there’s a story that when a person was promoted to VP at Apple (they only had a couple of dozen) Steve Jobs sat down with them and told them that, “Reason’s no longer matter.”  He meant that the reason why you didn’t successfully hit the objective/target/metric was no longer important.  Why you missed your sales goals was now irrelevant.  You missed them.  It was up to you to get the parts to their destination regardless of the typhoon.  When there was a labor problem it was up to you to fix it.  Whatever your area of responsibility, the results were your problem.

How refreshing if everyone would stop making excuses and start fixing problems.  Doesn’t matter what your dog ate (photocopies).  Doesn’t matter that your car broke down (Lyft).  Doesn’t matter that the ship sank (insurance).  Doesn’t matter that the part isn’t ready (second source).  Etc.

Of course telling the VP’s that reasons no longer matter was supposed to inform them that they needed to think through what might go wrong, make alternate plans in case those eventualities came to pass, and be creative about fixing whatever did go wrong.

Excuses are offered as justifications.  I tried really hard but…. [fill in the excuse here for missing the target].  But why are justifications meaningful for things that really matter?  If it matters, get it right.  If you fail, don’t excuse it.  Own it.  That is part of the reason that many people are justifiably upset about excuses from our government.  If you are going to invade another country, think through a governing plan for after your victory.  If you are going to require people to sign up for insurance at a website, make sure it works.

Maybe start treating your business like reasons no longer matter.  If you screw up, take responsibility.  Own it.  Apologize.  Don’t justify.  There is no justification.  You screwed up.  If nothing else, your authenticity will shock most of your customers in this age of homework eating dogs stuck in traffic with medical problems.