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CRAP Piles Up Fast

By Joey Havens

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We are 20 months into living in our new home and the outside fans still do not work. The tire service company can’t sell me three new tires because they are counting them for inventory. I’m in a meeting and find out 30% of the team is struggling to get a critical app to work on their phones. Worse, team members are accepting slow system performance as the “norm.” We all have these experiences and stories where no one takes ownership, no one gets it done. The sad part is that people give up hope for a better outcome and start accepting CRAP excuses.

CRAP excuses get their stench from Control, Rationalizations, Alibis and Procrastination. They can pile up fast and lower our expectations and achievements without us realizing how much they are slowing us down.

The need for Control stymies progress, innovation and changing the status quo. We can’t trust anyone else to do it. We don’t let it go because we will not be important anymore. Sometimes we want to control the narrative so it’s not our fault. If we keep control, we can CYA. What are we trying to control that is holding our team back?

Rationalizations are like weeds that will take over your flower beds and yard. Before long, the norm becomes rationalizing why the situation can’t be better. Justifying our actions in our minds does not move the needle forward. Why are we spending more time and energy rationalizing why we can’t improve something, rather than focusing on what is wrong? Rationalizations are excuses, plain and simple. What have we rationalized lately that we know is less than acceptable?

Alibis flow like the Mississippi River during the spring floods—fast, furious and destructive. Leaving behind stinky mud and crap for someone to clean up. “It’s not my problem,” or, “I didn’t know the extent of that.” “We are busy. Here’s a workaround.” “The part didn’t come in.” What excuse have we used lately when we simply didn’t want to own the challenge?

Put simply by author Piers Steel, “Procrastination is the difference between what you are doing and what you should be doing.” When we procrastinate, the work either never gets done, or certainly not done timely. I was tempted this morning as I reviewed my notes for this blog. “I can write this on my next trip, no need to do it now.” I thought. Thank goodness, I could smell the CRAP and turned on the computer. There’s always a reason to push projects aside to focus on something—anything—else, followed by lots of excuses and rationalizations why the work isn’t done. What are we procrastinating on that is holding our team back?

I believe we simply accept too much CRAP, and honestly, we create some of it ourselves. Almost every day, I see CRAP killing effectiveness, fast learning, focus on priorities and motivation to #beEvenBetter.

I know this blog stinks for a lot of reasons, but I hope it helps us get rid of some of our CRAP. ENOUGH CRAP! Let’s start shoveling the CRAP out of our lives, careers and businesses. Let’s call the stink out when we smell it. Let’s look behind us to be sure we are not generating it. A little more ownership will remove a lot of CRAP.