Ten excuses for doing nothing

How often do good ideas get blocked in organisations?

Sometimes, the objection is the familiar “It’ll never work here” argument. You can usually deal with that by finding somewhere similar where it has worked.

Altogether more insidious are the “Yes, but not yet” ploys which, by delaying key activities and deferring decisions until a later date, drain the energy and enthusiasm away from a project.

Here are some of my favourite excuses for inactivity. Some of them are pinched from Peter Block’s book ‘Flawless Consulting’ but I’ve added in a few others I have heard over the years.  

They usually go something like this.

We can’t do anything until:

The new boss arrives.

We get a new computer system. 

People are given the right training and skills.

The structure has changed.

The new roles and responsibilities are defined.

We change the reward system.

The management team has told us what the new strategy will be.

The leaders change their behaviour.

We change the culture.

Risk and fear are eliminated.

All of these conveniently put the responsibility somewhere else. In the case of the last three, postponement of the project would be indefinite.

Do you have any more examples of excuses for doing nothing? If so, I’d like to hear them.

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4 Responses to Ten excuses for doing nothing

  1. jonathan says:

    “We’ve tried that before”

    “oh yes – when ?”

    “about 20 thousand million years ago” (cue long explanation of what happened 20 thousane million years ago)


    Result = nothing – strangled at birth

  2. Rick says:

    Thanks Jeremy.

    It’s gone onto the blogroll.

  3. In HR you could add – we need to do the numbers first to prove we are adding value!


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