S*** My Co-workers Say.



We begin with 2 simple questions at Red Angle.


  1. Do work with or sell to Hispanics (or both)?
  2. Would it be helpful if you spoke Spanish?


In construction, we get plenty of YES answers to both. As Prospects turn into Clients, we move from what we will do to what we are doing. The former does not require behavior change, merely a paradigm shift.



The latter requires behavior change.

And here’s where the excuses start.


To get our Clients speaking Spanish relevant to their job, we get creative. We put original posters on the wall, entertaining 4-minute videos on their Smartphones, custom audio CD’s in the cars, bilingual business cards in their pockets, and publish books customized to addressing their problemas.


But like all personal training –  mental or physical – the individual has to make a commitment. You can’t do it for them.



There will be no shortage of excuses as to why __________ won’t work.

Here’s what we hear most often.



I don’t have enough time. 

I have vacation coming up. 

Spanish is too hard. 

3 years in high school & I learned a whole lotta nada.

Why don’t they learn English? 

I will sound like an idiot. 

My accent is horrible. 

I can’t roll my R’s. 

My memory is horrible. 

I have Chava translate for me. 

I’ll speak Spanish when I know more… 

They speak better English than I speak Spanish. 

I’m pretty sure Siri the iPhone genius knows Spanish. 

Shouldn’t we be learning Polish? 

The timing just isn’t great right now. 

We’ve been doing fine thus far… why change now? 

It may offend current English-speaking customers. 

Have we checked with legal on this? 

No one else in our industry is doing this, why are we? 

This will probably fail. 

Our big competitor is going to steal this for sure. 

It’s too early to start this initiative.

It’s too late for this to make an impact. 

The upside is too small. 

The downside is too big. 

This has never been done before. 

Everyone will laugh at us.



We’ve found the act of identifying the excuses ahead of time helps mentally prepare our participants to overcome them. Business guru Seth Godin used this technique in his great workbook Ship It.


Some participants overcome the excuses.

Others don’t.






What excuses do you find most frequently in your job?

How do you overcome them?




All ideas welcome. The human fear of change or Resistance as the honorable Steven Pressfield would call it, is mighty. But not nearly as strong as the feeling that comes with Accomplishment and meaningful personal improvement.




Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. He recently published a new book for Purdue University – Safety Spanish: Simple Spanish Skills for Solving Safety Problems.  A non-Purdue edition hits stores in November.



Categories: Jobsite Leadership

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