Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lose your "But" in the New Year

Happy New Year! I'm back from my mini-sabbatical with plenty of new thoughts, articles and ideas to help you build your leadership skills.

So let's get started - have you ever noticed that the word "but" tends to negate just about anything that comes before it?

"We should attend CES but the Johnson report needs to be completed."

A sentence like this can only cause bad feelings. When writing or speaking, "but" serves to put ideas in opposition, that is to say, conflict, with one another. Great leaders build consensus and incorporate ideas from a host of sources. for the best possible outcome. The only way to do so is to get everyone rowing in the same direction. This can't be done by placing them at odds, however it can be done by incorporating the ideas in a constructive manner.

Instead of "bu-ting" in, try this; use "and" to link your ideas. Now, instead of the ideas being at odds, they work in concert with one another. Let's take another run at our example.

"We should attend CES and the Johnson can be completed during the trip, incorporating new information from the show."

Give it a try, and good luck losing your "but" in the New Year - let me know how it goes!

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