The art of the excuse

Excuses are a great way to deflect work. And just like everyone else I’ve ever met I’m guilty of using them when they suite my needs. But it feels like I’ve run into more than my fair share of people lately that have nearly perfected the art of the excuse.

“I don’t have time” – This is one of the most common excuses I see as it’s hard to disprove. Hey, it’s your time, how would I know how much of it you have. But if you’re telling me this with your feet up on the desk I might be suspicious.

“We don’t have the resources” or “We don’t have the bandwidth” – We’re an inventive group. We’ve taken a word used to talk about data transfer and transformed it into an excuse for deflecting work. Brilliant! The resource thing is old news and often employed by those in charge when they don’t really want to deal with something. It was a standard reply to most of my requests when I worked in healthcare.

“It’s not in the budget” – Do you ever wonder what’s actually in the budget and why we bother with them? I do. How can you honestly plan for something 18 months down the road when things change every day? I know, I know, it’s only a guess. Well I’ve got news for you, the big shots in the suits and big offices apparently suck at guessing because we were always over budget and never had money to do anything that wasn’t on the books at least a year in advance. Hmm, the crystal ball must have shorted out.

“It’s too complex”, i.e. they think it’s too hard. – Sometimes the solution to a problem is difficult, period. And sometimes the right thing to do isn’t necessarily the easiest. Doesn’t everyone preach the value of being problem solver? I find it interesting that everyone wants to be a problem solver until they run into a problem that’s bigger than their brain can handle. Then it’s simply “too complex”.

“There’s no evidence to support that” – No kidding Sherlock, that’s why we’re trying to find the solution. Physicians complain that we’re trying to tell them how to practice medicine with “evidence” while pharmacists scream that we don’t have enough “evidence”. Why is it that pharmacists want someone to put a ring through their nose and lead them in the right direction? You know, it’s ok to fail once in a while. And it’s true, being wrong won’t actually kill you. If being wrong was a death sentence I’d never have made it out of the second grade. Sheez. Trying to get pharmacists to do something new is like trying to point something out to a cat; they look at your finger instead of what you’re pointing at. And people wonder why we haven’t changed practice models in over 20 years. Duh!

Tired of excuses? Yeah, me too. I was going to tell you how to avoid them in the future, but

  • it wasn’t in the budget
  • it would have been too complex
  • I just don’t have the time
  • I didn’t have the necessary resources
  • there’s simply no evidence to support that.


4 thoughts on “The art of the excuse”

  1. Well put Jerry,
    Not enough pharmacists want to get out in front of issues and practice change initiatives
    its like we are on the health care sled dog team and we seem to be happy in the safe 2nd or 3rd position. Unfortunately the view from there doesn’t change, I’m just saying.

  2. Hi Keith –
    Reminds me of the tree full of monkeys:

    An organization is like a tree full of monkeys…
    all on different limbs,… at different levels,…
    some climbing up.
    The monkeys on the top look down and see a tree full of smiling faces.
    The monkeys on the bottom look up and see nothing but a**holes.

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