Monthly Archives: February 2015

“When you’re looking for an excuse, any one will do.” —— Roger C. Allred

Copy of SUB90This statement has universal application.  As your legal counsel will tell you, “Anyone can sue anyone else, any time for anything.”  That does not mean that the lawsuit is justified nor that it will end well for the person doing the suing, but it is a fact.

The same principle applies to leadership.  It could be said, “Anyone can justify anything at any time.”  This type of self-justification can destroy an organization if the leader is prone to making excuses.  As Mitt Romney said, “Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses.”

A leader can talk the talk of leadership, but if the leader doesn’t walk the talk no one will follow.  Psychologists also explain that leaders experience “cognitive dissonance” if there is inconsistency in what they say versus what they do.  Cognitive dissonance describes the anxiety that one feels when there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors.

No one likes the feeling of being anxious, so something must be done to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.  The failing leader can chose to do one of three things:

  1. Walk the talk of leadership.  This is, by far, the most difficult answer because it requires a change of attitude and performance.  However, it is the only choice for someone who wants to be a successful persuasive leader. 
  2. Stop faking leadership and say what he/she really thinks.  This is an honest but dangerous approach.  All of the leader’s cards are on the table and employees will have to decide if they are willing to work for a tyrant or a crook or an incompetent or a narcissist, etc.
  3. Make excuses – because any one will do.

The following are examples of leadership failures where the cognitive dissonance is temporarily relieved by an excuse.   

  1. I know that we should obey the rules but I am under incredible pressure to get this problem solved in any way we can.
  2. I know that most leaders praise their employees for a job well done, but I shouldn’t need to praise people for doing their jobs.
  3. I know that we need to work as a cohesive team but my employees are dumber than a box of rocks.
  4. I know that members of my staff are having serious disagreements but my employees work better when I let them fight it out.
  5. I know that my goal should be to create a positive work environment but I have to micromanage to get what I want.
  6. I know that I should train my employees and encourage learning but that’s not the way that I learned the business.
  7. I know that I should help members of my team to succeed but if they get too much credit, I might look bad.
  8. I know that I should reward my employees fairly but I am sure that would come back to bite me since “no good deed goes unpunished.”
  9. I know that I need to create a safe workplace but these goals and policies were developed by someone who doesn’t have to implement them.
  10. I know that it is more effective to discipline my employees in private and give them suggestions on how to improve but if I yell at them in front of their peers, everyone will know that I am in control.

These ten examples are just a beginning of the excuses that people in positions of leadership make.  Everyone is prone to make excuses for poor performance, but the successful leader will diligently work to eliminate excuses and show true leadership.

The “Four Way Test” established by Rotary International is an excellent way to question the virtue of our choices.  It will help to determine if our choice is a valid reason or an excuse.  The Four Way Test is this:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“When you’re looking for an excuse, any one will do.”  Great leaders are those who stop looking.

25 Lies Taught on TV        

TV1_640Do not underestimate the power of the media.  Lessons on morality and acceptable human behavior are being taught to our children every day in the media through TV, movies, music, news programs, sports, commercials and videos.  The morality of Hollywood is perverse, pervasive and persuasive, which is something that should frighten every parent.

The following list is a compilation of 25 generally accepted lies that are taught in any given week on Prime Time TV.

  1. If you are a married man, you are a buffoon, a compulsive liar, but probably both.
  2. Kids on TV never have to study.
  3. Kids are usually wiser than parents.
  4. A parent spanking their child is child abuse.
  5. Taking the name of the Lord in vain is no more offensive than saying “lettuce.”
  6. Using profanity is how people know that you are really serious.
  7. The Sabbath is just another Saturday with football.
  8. The religion of men is football.
  9. All attractive women are built like tall, skinny ten year olds with breasts.
  10. The religion of women is Oprah.
  11. Social gatherings without alcohol never happen.
  12. Stay-at-home moms are wasting their intelligence and earning potential.
  13. Religion is for simple-minded bigots.
  14. Smoking pot every once in a while is normal.
  15. Pornography is harmless.
  16. Late night comedians explain everything we need to know about politics.
  17. If you don’t support gay marriage, you hate homosexuals.
  18. If you don’t blame humans for global warming, you are really stupid.
  19. Corporations are evil and jobs are created by ever more invasive government.
  20. Dating at age 10 is normal unless the kid is a real nerd.
  21. Dating for anyone over 18 means having sex.
  22. Having sex before marriage not a problem if you are over 16, use a condom and care for each other.
  23. The natural course of romance is; casual sex with someone you just met, regular (but not necessarily exclusive) sex for years, an accidental pregnancy and then marriage.
  24. Marriage is great if you are in your 30’s and have had sex with a lot of people so that you can be sure that you have made the right choice for your spouse.
  25. Beating your dog is a vicious crime but killing your unborn child is just a choice.

If you are concerned that your children will believe any of these lies, you need to act.

As loving parents, we must:  

  • Teach our kids that just because it is on TV doesn’t mean that it is true. 
  • Speak up when corrupt philosophies are presented to our kids and refute them. 
  • Educate our kids about morality, its purpose and benefits. 
  • Explain that there is evil in the world and there are powerful people who want them to accept evil.
  • Counsel our children that there is a loving God, he will help us and his commandments are for our benefit.
  • Show by example how to love the sinner but reject the sin.
  • Discuss with our kids how the majority can be wrong, dead wrong.

Our children are precious to us, as parents.  We want them to have values and behavior that will help them be successful in life.  We cannot risk allowing those in the media who do not share our values to teach our children concepts that are corrupting and harmful.  We must be proactive in teaching our kids how to find enduring fulfillment and happiness.

A version of this article was published by here.