While I encourage you to follow your parent’s direction and always use “please” and “thank you” as they are greatly appreciated by all, these are not the words I reference in the title of today’s post. The words that I’ll share with you in the text that follows are not used nearly often enough and when used correctly can make a dramatic difference in raising your productivity to new heights.
Let’s start with the word that will help you clear the decks to focus on highest and best use activities. The word is “no”… Most achievement oriented professionals want to take on the world and as such have a propensity to bite-off more than they can chew. Being over committed will suck the life out of those who possess even the greatest amounts of energy.
Saying ”no” doesn’t come easy to many as it is counter intuitive to wanting to help others succeed. The fact is that by saying “no” more often you’ll help others develop their skill sets faster by not being overly dependant upon your expertise. It is critical to remember that by solving other’s problems or fixing their mistakes you are neither being productive or a good leader. When someone asks you to bail them out you should tell them that you would be happy to support them by coaching them through the issue, but that they’ll have to resolve it on their own accord. This is leading by mentoring and educating not by being a doormat.
By learning to say “no” to things that do not constitute highest and best use activities you will find that you have much more time to focus on priorities and you’ll notice an immediate boost in productivity. Additionally with appropriate use of the word ”no” you will start to build some bench strength by training people to resolve conflict and problem solve on their own.
My other favorite word is “why”… No other word can cut through ambiguity, force justification of positioning, control a conversation, surface flawed logic or stimulate refined thinking like the proper use of ”why. ” The skillful application of “why’ can also serve to test the depth and breadth of someone’s commitment or subject matter expertise.
My favorite use of ”why” kills two birds with one stone…it allows me to gain an insight into how people think by having them step through their thought process while at the same time using the exercise as a teaching tool. By continuing to drill down on a subject with the appropriate use of “why” I have watched individuals take what was little more than a raw concept and within a matter of minutes refine it into a well fleshed-out plan.
Use these two words and watch your productivity soar…
Mike Myatt is the Chief Strategy Officer at N2growth. N2growth is a leading venture growth consultancy providing a unique array of professional services to high growth companies on a venture based business model. The rare combination of branding and corporate identity services, capital formation assistance, market research and business intelligence, sales and product engineering, leadership development and talent management, as well as marketing, advertising and public relations services make N2growth the industry leader in strategic growth consulting. More information about the company can be found at http://www.N2growth.com or by viewing http://www.N2growth.com/blog