“I don’t have time,” is not always the real reason. The real reason may be that you haven’t made it a priority. The suggestion is that we have schedule conflicts and sometimes that legitimately happens, in other cases it is an excuse.
The truth is that people understand priorities. They may not always agree with them, but they understand the struggle. Suggesting, “I don’t know how I will fit that in,” is much softer than, “No, I’m not interested.”
People accept the passive response. It seems easier for everyone.
Acceptance of the excuse is often not ignorance. Nearly everyone recognizes that they have a few things that they would like to do, but they must limit it to only one at a time.
In the workplace, in our job roles, it may become a crutch. A way, a method, or a reason, to avoid doing something that you really don’t want to do.
Our jobs are more than our technical skills. Our jobs require emotional labor. Stepping up and doing the things that are hard and that challenge us takes energy. In order to lead, we must sometimes face doing the painful, the unattractive, and the unglamorous work.
It may feel easy to throw out an excuse and skip the meeting. We can sometimes make a decision about what work we will complete and what work we will suggest we don’t have time to accomplish.
Excuses are useless, except to dodge the real work to be done. In some cases, it is to avoid the requirement of emotional labor.
Many people, will rise to the minimum level of requirements. They’ll do just enough to escape the imposing threat of competition, the fear of the iron handed boss, or slip by for the moment only to dodge the assignment for another day.
Schedule conflicts are always about priorities. Some of them important, some of them an excuse.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.