The 3 Biggest Excuses Holding You Back

May we let you in on a dirty little secret that we’ve uncovered after almost 2 decades of helping businesses succeed? It’s the difference between how some Quality Managers are able to consistently improve their businesses year after year, while others struggle just to survive.

Here it is:

95% of Quality Managers hide behind their excuses, and those excuses keep them trapped in their current way of doing business.

Here are the three most costly excuses that we’ve seen cost managers thousands upon thousands (if not millions) of dollars - not to mention the added emotional stress of being trapped where they are.

Excuse #1: “I’m just too busy running my department to step back and get the tools and help I need to improve. Maybe later when I have more time…”

Think about this for a moment. How many quality managers do you know who are so busy doing the “job” of quality that they don’t make the time to step back and improve the value they bring to their business?

It’s kind of like a person digging a hole who says, “If I just keep digging this hole eventually I can dig my way out.” They haven’t understood that the more they dig, the deeper they get and the more difficult it becomes to escape.

Most quality managers who want to improve their value do it by working harder and personally producing more. But the more you produce, the more it is expected of you. On top of that, the latest compliance standards are increasing in scope, needing even more effort just to stay current.

Instead you need to find a way to free up your time to focus on adding more value to your business. The beauty is that once you head down this new path, your job will be more enjoyable, more rewarding, and more secure.

Unfortunately 95% of quality managers are just going to hide behind the excuse that they don’t have the time. They’ll wait until someday they magically clear their calendar, get past the current fire they are dealing with, and then they’ll do the things that will make them a key stakeholder in their business.

Sadly their someday never comes…

Make the decision that your someday is now! And that your starting point is today!

When you do this, and back it up with simple, focused action to dramatically change the way you do business, the results will amaze you. I know this to be true from watching the impact that CIS software has on the lives and businesses of our clients. 

Excuse #2: “I don’t have the money. Our current manual system must be cheaper…. I can’t afford to invest in new tools”.

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Most managers think only in terms of what it will “cost” them to invest in the systems, or the training, or the outside help they need to grow and develop. For them, the decision is skewed because they only look at the cost of doing something better and different and don’t stop to calculate the ROI of making a change.

What they also ignore is the true cost of the status quo! (Hint: your manual systems actually cost a fortune).

As a quick example of possible savings, take a look at the chart below. If a company with 25 people earning $20/hour were able to save just 20 minutes a day by automating their workloads, the labor savings alone would exceed $50,000! That’s more than the cost of one employee! (and of course the savings go way beyond 20 minutes).

Yet quality managers are still going to say that they just can’t afford it…

The irony is that for just about every business we’ve ever worked with, the money needed to invest to see dramatic improvements was already hidden in their business. They just needed some help to see what the “status quo” was actually costing them and show them a better way. 

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Courtesy of

Excuse #3: “Now is just not the right time.”

This may just be the most damaging excuse of all. This is the quality manager who says, “I know I need to do things different. I know I need better tools to help do it. I know that it will more than pay for itself several times over in the first year. It’s just that right now isn’t the right time. After I finish this one project… After I make this one hire… Next month… Next year… But not right now.”

Is there ever a perfect time to do anything?

Successful managers start now, with whatever they have at hand, and make things happen. Their companies are leaders in their marketplace - more efficient, with higher customer satisfaction, higher employee satisfaction, higher profitability and are better places to work.

Underlying root causes, behaviors and attitudes

So what’s the real issue? Personally, I think these 3 excuses are the result of some hidden root causes (isn’t root cause analysis what we quality folks are all about?).

Many managers probably feel some comfort in staying where they are, playing it safe, not rocking the boat…. It can be pretty comfortable knowing that they can count on tomorrow to bring the same old issues and the same firefighting that requires their particular expertise and skill in handling.

Really? Isn’t that just continually digging the hole deeper into mediocrity?


Another root cause might be FEAR:

  • Fear of failure: “What will they say if I fail? Will they say they told me so? Will they laugh?”

  • Fear of success: “What will they think if I succeed? Will they be jealous? Will they resent me?”

  • Fear of the unknown: “What will happen? What monsters are lurking in the shadows? What don’t I know that I don’t know?”

Fear holds so many of us back - from our dreams - from our best selves - and back from fully committing to the goals we want to pursue in our careers. But at what cost - what opportunities have we let slide past, playing it safe, playing it small?

Next Steps

Instead of working hard digging faster and deeper, why not put that same energy into adding real value for your company and for yourself?

Be proactive. Take the first step.

Find out what solutions are available, what benefits they bring. Automation is already at work in quality assurance. Company-wide visibility to all activity, action items, current project status and KPIs are all available in real time. Powerful reports and data integration drive better and quicker decisions. Integrated quality, health and safety and environmental programs are easily interconnected and overlaps eliminated. This brings higher efficiencies and lower costs. The return on investment (ROI) of this technology exceeds 200%.

No more time for excuses! Now is the time for you to step up and decide to do something about it.