The deadliest word…
“But we’re an energy intensive business.”
“But if it was that easy we would have done it already.”
“But we can’t afford to, even if we wanted to.”
“But this is the way we’ve always done it.”
“But we’re in [insert business sector] – it’s fine for all these other companies, they don’t face the pressures we do.”
“But” takes the momentum out of a venture. It deflects and distracts attention from the major point. It kills enthusiasm and introduces cynicism. Of course the word “but” can stop you heading off on a wild goose chase, but (!) all too often it is cover for all our personal fears, laziness, inertia, lack of initiative – all those things that stop you doing something you know you really should do.
So how can you get over the “buts”? Here are a few methods I use:
- Don’t preach. When people listen to someone ranting about something, their mind fills up with “buts”. Converse instead;
- Get people involved in developing solutions – this generates a ‘can do’ attitude;
- Throw a question back at the doubter – “If you can’t afford to do it now, how are you going to survive if your competitors are winning more business than you?”
The “buts” you want to hear are positive – “this is going to take a lot of effort, but I think it will be worthwhile.” That “but” is music to my ears.