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Phrases to Avoid June 24, 2007

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in General.
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There are few phrases that I cannot tolerate hearing and if uttered by my underlings usually lead to permanent retirement. These include “I don’t know”, “it’s too difficult” and general excuses.

Whether your a Sith lord or lowly trooper, when facing a difficult question for the first time, never answer with a negative vibe of “it’s to difficult”. The correct answer is always – “I’ll get back to you”. From impossible project deadlines, to impossible requirements, nothing is impossible. Everything is simply a matter of resources and time. When a difficult project is posed, tell them you’ll get back to them and come back with viable options.

If management wants a Death Star built in 3 years, get back to them with various levels of resources required and timelines and let them pick the option they prefer. Remember to outline how the sacrifices will impact all other projects.

It’s also very important to find out what the purpose of the request. Many times the request itself will solve a problem, but there are alternative methods to solving the problem that they may not have thought of.

Another phrase to avoid is “I don’t know”. Good managers usually have this diplomatic skill mastered and don’t fall victim to it. Usually the lower level employees or technical staff will make this cardinal mistake. Questions could range from “Where is the 3rd quarter report?” to “Why can R2D2 over-ride every security protocol?” When confronted with the unknown, the correct answer is “I’ll find out”.

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