No Excuses

Scott Francis
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There’s a theme about management that has cropped up over the years regarding owning the outcomes, rather than the excuses (Steve Jobs’ definition of the Vice President versus the janitor comes to mind). Ben Horowitz (of Andreesen Horowitz) captures this perfectly in his “Nobody Cares” post.  It is both great advice, a great reminder of something you should already know if you run a startup, and an admonishment that you need to be tough if you’re going to go down that road:
That might be the best CEO advice ever. Because, you see, nobody cares. When things go wrong in your company, nobody cares. The press doesn’t care, your investors don’t care, your board doesn’t care, your employees don’t care, even your mama doesn’t care. Nobody cares. And they are right not to care. A great reason for failing won’t preserve one dollar for your investors, won’t save one employee’s job, or get you one new customer. It especially won’t make you feel one bit better when you shut down your company and declare bankruptcy.
This is so true. As consultants we see this all the time – customers don’t care about our excuses, they just want their projects and processes delivered as promised.  Sometimes there are really important mitigating circumstances but we’ve got to help them climb over those obstacles. And at the end of the day – nobody cares about the excuses.  You have to make payroll, pay bonuses, grow your firm, and make it happen.  And if you don’t, no one will care about the excuses.