Thursday, July 20, 2006

Language, Language

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to agree with someone and not commit to anything? This is very evident whenever you talk about change with people.

Here are two that I've heard this week.

"I can't make that decision. I'm waiting on the CEO to tell us if we are a product or services company. Once they do that, everything else becomes easy."

Classic avoidance of responsibility. It is important to notice that the person is claiming that they would like to help you, but someone else is stopping them.

Of course, if that decision is never fully made, or it's always a tension between the two poles, nothing will ever be done. It is even a ready made excuse to avoid doing anything.

The other one is even sneakier.

"We could try that."

This one is very, very stealthy. You feel that the person saying it has agreed with you. However, if you look at it, they've committed to nothing. Of course we could try many things, how many of them will actually happen?

Some of my most frustrating work experiences have been with people who appear to agree, but then do nothing. If you don't agree, say so, don't let your comments fester.

I challenge you to use different language the next time someone comes to you with an idea. How about trying some of these.

If you disagree, "Have you considered..."

Working towards a final result of, "Let's try that. You can start next week."


Anonymous said...

Great blog, Jase. Hmm... wonder which company you're writing about?

Jason Pollock said...

Bah! Like Dilbert, everyone thinks I'm talking about their company. It's not my fault if it seems familiar! ;)