Jul 23, 2011

A Failing Business Specialities - Denial, Excuses And More

If you think working for someone is bad, try working for someone when business is doing badly. Or try consulting for him.

Always impressed watching ''Kitchen Nightmares.'' If you did not watch the show - famous Chef Gordon Ramsay spends a week in failing restaurant, trying to revive the business.

Although you have the right to think Chef Ramsay is arrogant, you might agree that the show "will make you laugh, make you sick and make you think"

It makes me think why when things are bad, we explain, defend, deny, find excuses and even argue! We even pick at staff and customers sometimes.

In mentioned TV show, the owners of the restaurants/business (they describe as ''mess'' or ''nightmare'') regularly invest remaining energy on:

1. Explanations/Excuses

(''Everybody cuts corners'', ''We all make mistakes'', ''No one is perfect'', ''I did not know we did not have enough steaks'', etc..)

2. Denial

It makes you wonder if they are losing touch with reality.

(''It's not so bad...'' ...Remember they claimed the business is a ''nightmare''. They'd say ''Our place is clean'' even when moldy rice, rotten meat, or greasy dishes are found.)

3. Defense, or defensive aggression

(''Don't make me look bad!'' or ''I don't need this a..hole to tell me all this!''... ''If I wasn't doing good I wouldn't be here!''...''This is he way we have always been working!''...''We must be doing something right!'')

The owner losing his business, life savings, health, house and family resists changes, suggestions, ideas and responsibility so hard, it leads to violent arguments with Chef Ramsay. Big blow ups are guaranteed in nearly every show.

4. Snapping at staff and customers.

The owner finds someone to blame - the chef, waiters, and even customers. Arguments with customers happen when the owner can not handle the pressure anymore.

The food was not cooked well, or waiting time was too long, and when customers complain the owner ends up arguing with them, offends them and tells them ''never to come here again!''

My favorite statement Ramsay made was ''You have no right to be selfish as an owner of the business.'' Followed by, ''You can not pick at staff and customers.''

And these are not fools. These are businessmen who were doing very well once. Nobody forced them into the show, either. (This translates in my brain into ''They asked for help.'')

Apparently, asking is easier part. It is much harder accepting reality, responsibility, and starting with yourself, as a leader.

It hurts when business is failing! Surely there might be reasons totally out of your control.

Still, it's impressive how much energy denial, excuses, defense, even delusions can take, and not much remains for doing what is necessary.

Again, we are talking capable, intelligent people, who asked for help!

And we start resembling these people when our projects, departments, teams or businesses start resembling nightmares.

I have my excuses, explanations, I want to overcome. What are yours?

Before you deny, think again. You might remember you, or someone close to you reacting like that.

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