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Reality Rebuttal to "Conventional" Nonsense


Business is filled with common complaints, cop outs, clichés, conventional wisdom, and excuses that will keep you average if you buy into them. As you read over the following list determine how many you have heard, said, or bought into. Then consider the reality rebuttal, offered with the intent to create a healthier perspective on each issue.


1.       There’s a shortage of talented people in my area.


Reality rebuttal: It’s unlikely the Creator got ticked off at your area and stopped putting talented people there. In reality, the most talented people already have jobs, but you have no strategy for recruiting passive job candidates into your enterprise. Get one.


2.       We can‘t fire him; we have no one to replace him with.


Reality rebuttal: It’s better to be strategically short-staffed than foolishly filled up. And, if you had an ongoing recruiting discipline you’d have someone in the pipeline.


3.       He’s loyal; he’s been here a long time.


Reality rebuttal: Loyalty is defined as “faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations”; the definition says nothing about being somewhere a long time. That would be tenure or seniority. At the end of the day, loyalty is performance.


4.       I don’t have time to read books on management.


Reality rebuttal: You have time for golf games, fantasy football and video games, but no time to improve yourself? If something’s important to you you’ll find a way; if it’s not you’ll find an excuse. At the end of the day, if you don’t grow, you go. Keep your resume current.


5.       I’ve been in the business thirty years. Why should I have to attend training?


Reality rebuttal: Just because you show, doesn’t mean you grow. Growth isn’t automatic, and it is not a synonym of experience. Since intellectual capital depreciates, keep training or lose your relevance.


6.       It’s the manufacturer’s fault our sales are down.


Reality rebuttal: Quit whining and focus on the many things you can control each day but don’t: your attitude, work ethic, discipline, where you spend your time, with whom you spend it, whether you’re going to train, recruit, hold people accountable, and the like. You’re not a victim of your circumstances; you’re a product of your choices. 


7.       It’s the weather’s fault.


Reality rebuttal: Refer to point six.


8.       It’s the economy’s fault.


Reality rebuttal: Refer to point six.


9.       It’s my boss’s fault.


Reality rebuttal: Refer to point six.


10.   It’s the competition’s fault.


Reality rebuttal: Refer to point six.


11.   It’s another department’s fault.


Reality rebuttal: Refer to point six.


12.   I’ve always been this way (undisciplined). It’s just the way I am.


Reality rebuttal: Your birth certificate doesn’t say, “undisciplined”. Being undisciplined is a choice. When you’re ready to give up what you want now for what you want most, you’ll develop discipline.


13.   I’ve always been this way (negative). It’s just the way I am.


Reality rebuttal: Your birth certificate doesn’t say “pessimist” either. Attitude is a choice.


14.   My boss doesn’t motivate me.


Reality rebuttal: He shouldn’t have to. It’s exhausting to hug you, burp you, coddle you, and wind you up every day. The best in any business create more motivation from the inside-out, with a compelling purpose; anything external pats on the back they get is appreciated; but not necessary for them to get or stay motivated.


15.   The people working for me are weak; they’re idiots.


Reality rebuttal: Then you’re the chief, weak idiot. You don’t attract into your department what you want; you attract what you are. Your people are YOUR report card.


16.   Threatening someone with consequences for non-performance is harsh.


Reality rebuttal: It’s never harsh to tell someone what you want, by when you want it, and what will happen if they don’t deliver. What’s harsh is letting them fail on your leadership watch because you don’t have the guts to do your job, care enough to confront them, and raise their performance. 


17.   My managers work a ton of hours; there’s no way you can call them complacent.


Reality rebuttal: Complacent is defined, calmly content, smugly self-satisfied .Your managers can work eighty hours per week and still be so complacent they don’t train regularly, recruit proactively or hold others accountable. Complacency is more about what someone puts in the hours than the hours someone puts in.


18.   My managers are fine. I need salesperson training.


Reality rebuttal: If your managers were fine, they’d already be training your salespeople. Besides, it’s foolish to take live eggs stick them under dead chickens and then wonder why they don’t hatch. Train your managers first.


19.   We can’t afford to train.


Reality rebuttal: If you think the cost of training is high, consider the cost of ignorance; it’s staggering—especially at the management level.


20.   All customers care about is price.


Reality rebuttal: Until your people learn to differentiate themselves and create great customer experiences, price will always be the issue. Great people delivering “wow” customer experiences makes price less relevant.


21.   He’s negative, but I’m working to change that.


Reality rebuttal: You can alter someone’s mood; you cannot change their prevailing attitude.


22.   He’s not very talented, but I’m working to change that.


Reality rebuttal: You can develop talent, but you can’t make someone talented. You can’t put in what was left out; you can only draw out what was left in.


23.   He’s not very driven, but I’m working to change that.


Reality rebuttal: You can’t make someone want it; drive is an inside job. As with talent, remember this: you can help make someone more of what they are; you can’t make them something they’re not.


Since I’m quickly reaching this article’s word limit, I’m unable to address the remaining seven points as I had planned. They are:

24.   He’s lethargic, but I’m working to change that.

25.   He has some serious character flaws, but I’m working to change that.

26.   We’re hoping for a big month.

27.   There’s no way we’ll miss this forecast.

28.   When my people prove they’re trustworthy, I’ll trust them.

29.    To change people’s behaviors, we raised the bar and created a bolder vision.

30.   We prefer to hire people with a lot of past experience.

Maybe, I’ll cover these another day. For now, evaluating the twenty-three reality rebuttals listed should provide at least one or two opportunities to create a healthier perspective within your organization.