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  • Different Approach

    Robert Stevenson, Different Approach

    A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to address the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association and it was one of the most memorable programs I have done in my career; the people attending the conference provide drug & alcohol testing for any company, organization, state or federal agency. During my interviewing process to help me customize my program, one of the questions I asked them was … “What makes your job difficult?” Several people responded: “Having to deal with all the stupid excuses people give for testing positive for drugs.” That response really intrigued me, so I dug deeper in my questioning to get actual examples of their excuses; I will get to the excuses in a moment.

    To help them with this difficult portion of their job, I suggested they deal with the problem with a different approach. I proposed they print up a little one-page list of excuses that will not be accepted for testing positive for drugs and hand that to them before being test. That way, if they do test positive for having drugs or alcohol in their system, there is no need to waste everyone’s time using any of the excuses listed. Below are the actual excuses given (with NO embellishment) and the form I suggested they print up.

    Excuses That Don’t Work for Testing Positive for Drugs 
    You Will Need To Try Something Different 
    These Aren’t Acceptable 
    More Originality Will be Required
     

    • I was at a party and everyone was smoking pot around me, so it’s second-hand smoke.
    • Someone must have put something in my drink; I swear I would never use drugs.
    • I take my friend’s pain meds when I have a migraine.
    • I used to smoke pot years ago when I was fat. I hear it stays in your system for a long time.
    • It was the cookies I ate at a party. I think it was medical marijuana.
    • I ate a bunch of poppy seed muffins.
    • I kissed a girl who had just used cocaine.
    • I take supplements from the health food store.
    • I buy hemp oil and make salad dressing with it.
    • I have to light my wife’s joints for her because she uses medical marijuana and she is too sick to do it herself.

    So now, when someone tests positive, they no longer have to deal with these 10 silly excuses … hopefully saving them a little time and frustration, and they did it by adding a little twist of humor in the process.

    May I suggest for you managers and leaders out there, to take a look at things you have to do like: evaluations, reviews, critiques, changing policies, implementing new software programs, meeting deadlines, revamping procedures, enforcing guidelines, delegating responsibilities, providing feedback, or complying with state and federal government regulations … and see if you can find a different approach that might make it be accepted more favorably.

    Originality and humor can help take the “sting” out of any situation, so anytime you can add a little of it, to help take the drudgery or negativity out of an issue, mandate, or task … I recommend you go for it.

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