Thursday, March 21, 2013

AND, not BUT

I have a busy professional life. I'm expected to deal with some of the most intense confrontations in the workplace, make decisions on the fly, lead others, and give feedback and my perspective on a variety of issues. That last point, feedback and my perspective, can be one of the trickiest parts of my day.

I Hear You, But
I do my best to allow others to give me their insights into what is happening with a particular situation before I jump in. That's hard for me to do. One of my failings is that once I've heard their update and attempted to validate what they've told me, I often follow with my own comments using the word 'but.'

Not good.

Once I utter that word my previous comments that affirmed their decision or perspective is instantly negated as they prepare to hear how I am going to correct them.

Really not good.

Often times I don't change what their ideas are, I'm just adding my proverbial two cents worth, but instead of maintaining a positive flow to the dialogue I use the 'but' word and change how they are feeling about the update.

And I Hear You
As part of a year long leadership development program that I am quite humbled to be a part of, I learned the power of the word 'and.' I am on a mission to replace the word 'but' with the word 'and' whenever possible. Let's try out an example:

"Your plan makes a lot of sense, but did you ask Mary about her ideas?"

Let's try this same statement using 'and' instead...

"Your plan makes a lot of sense, and I think Mary would be a big help too."

How About You
Have you convinced yourself, like I have, that my feedback is interpreted as I intend it to be 100% of the time? If so, like me, you've failed. Our teams rely on us to be supportive and provide balanced feedback, so let's both commit to avoiding the deadly word 'but' from now on.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.



  1. Hello Jay - what a great way to end a working week. And is just so much more expansive and invitational huh? I wrote a little something about this a while back - here is the link in case in case you are interested.

    Have a great weekend. Doug

    1. Great minds Doug! Loved your post...thanks for sharing!