How do leaders break through the excuses? First, by not accepting reasons for why important things can’t be done.
Example: In the early 1970s, consultant Carl Spetzler made a presentation to Merrill Lynch for the product that eventually became the Cash Account. At that time, it was a novel idea.
After Spetzler’s presentation, Merrill Lynch CEO Donald Regan went around the room and asked for comments. Almost everyone raised thorny issues.
Then Regan said he’d heard their issues and believed they were accurate and important. But it was also important for Merrill to be the first to come to market with this innovative product.
So now, he said, he would go back around the room so people could describe how their teams might attack the problems they’d raised.
Of course, the executives proposed remarkably creative solutions.
The result? Merrill Lynch gained new business and profit by being the first to launch an integrated financial package, mostly because its CEO would not accept excuses.
—Adapted from “No Excuses ,” Jeffrey Pfeffer, Leader To Leader Journal, www.pfd.org.