How to Build Trust – Stop the Bull….. Excuses


AAA road excuses

Want to build your personal brand and business reputation?  Then stop giving crappy excuses and start being real and truthful – with yourself and others.   Last week I was crafting an email to someone whom I had put off re-contacting for a few days.   As I was typing the 2nd sentence I knew I was writing absolute bull….t  

Emailing that I had been really busy and time got away was not the real reason for my email delay.  I had other reasons why I didn’t get back. So with courage I typed  the truth (albeit with discernment and respect).   Now of course the receiver may or may not have appreciated my truth but either way it will be the foundation of any future ‘trust based’ relationship and collaborations. 

The timing of that email was rather serendipitous amongst several weeks of being the receiver and observer of many ludicrous  excuses and  nonsense.  Sure a few  little white fibs are ok to soothe peoples feelings and truths should be delivered with mindfulness and care not to inflict hurt unnecessarily. 

But in business and workplaces trust and respect is eroded when bull….. excuses are rolled out to mask incompetence, lack of process, tardy follow-up and due care, diligence, laziness or disinterest.   Taking honest responsibility  is such an important attribute of EQ and IQ.     Trust is the front, middle and end of every relationship we have in business and life.  We can only effectively deal with and positively navigate real situations and issues not duplicitous  and  fake ones.  It takes too much energy and discourse to invest time and care into a pool of business falsity. 

Don’t get me wrong – I do get that stuff happens, life changes on a dime, people do have issues at play and understanding and flexibility is really important.  We are all humans after all. But in the majority of cases most excuses are simply crap and a cover up of taking responsibility.      We all generally know and sense when something is not true and the backlash is a lack of trust which leads to the  erosion of confidence and business profits and reputation. And this does not equal smart business or human sense.

I’m sure you have heard or may have delivered some of the following excuses to friends, colleagues, staff, clients, suppliers. But how true were they really ?

# I’ve been so slammed and busy   #  I’ve been sick and out of action   # I tried and couldn’t get through to your mobile # I didn’t receive your email/s #  I am booked out solid for xyx weeks-months  # We had problems with the internet # My bookkeeper should have paid that  #  I didn’t think you would mind # The job has been filled # The client has cancelled # We couldn’t proceed with xyx #   My car broke down # My uncle is in hospital # Unforeseen circumstances occurred # I cant talk now #  I did not receive your message # Other candidates were a better fit # You don’t match the criteria # I slept in # I forgot #  Cant afford it # We don’t have the money # I thought he/she contacted you #blah blah etc etc “

Recently I engaged a few  new suppliers (and I treat suppliers as valuable as clients).  They stuffed up and were tardy to cut a long story short. And I accept as humans we all make mistakes,  But the nonsensical excuses they gave was just clear  bull……  with a  total inability to , attempt restitution and acknowledge the time wasted and  impact of the situation.  

So how can you check if you are being given a nonsense excuse or a real reason ? Easy!  The person will generally do one or more of the following if genuine :

 a. Asks   ‘how can I make it up to you ‘ or ‘ what can I do now to help’

b.  Shows  remorse with sincere apologies &  actions to demonstrate regret

c.  Acknowledges the impact of their actions or behaviours

d.  Visibility as they do not hide away and ignore your calls or emails

Guilt of course is a  disempowering and immobilising emotion.   It renders many people to the backblocks never to be seen again for their shame. And shame is certainly an overarching factor of humanity when someone knows they have made a mistake or attempted to deliver untrue excuses.   But owning up is key and most people will graciously accept another person’s realness and honesty.

The commercial ramifications of the bull….. excuses I had received recently resulted in loss of $$ to those businesses and erosion of trust and reputation.  Likewise for my career and SME clients when they were given nonsense excuses. They certainly won’t be recommending or dealing with those recruiters, partners or businesses again. 

So how do we stop all this excuse nonsense to ensure we enhance our own personal brand, success and revenue?  If you cannot trust someone to tell you the truth how the hell can you trust them to be a colleague, supplier, business partner or employer?  I think the answers are pretty simple:

1.   Realise the 1st person you are deluding and lying to is yourself

2.   Accept you are human and do make mistakes

3.   Give others permission to make and admit mistakes too

4.   Be honest – if you don’t wish to deal with someone be truthful (but kind)

5.   Be direct – don’t hide behind others – be honest (respectful and legal)

6.   Own your mistakes, acknowledge their impact offer restitution

7.   Show your remorse by actions – it encourages others to do the same

8.  Put people before profits first and lose your ego

9.  Don’t turn a blind eye to others nonsense – hold them accountable

10. Speak your truth with mindfulness, care and respect

Challenge:   whenever YOU go to write or say what you know is a bull….t excuse just STOP. Re-write that email, say the real reason and be human & honest.  





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