May 6, 2015

What do you mean?


There are times for a fudge.

Politicians on two sides of a line, needing to save face, will sign up to ambiguities faster than they take campaign donations. Politicking isn’t leading, it’s hiding and fog and looking for a soft landing.

When leading your team up mountains, clarity and precision are off-the-scale more useful. Terms of a contract, praise for a job well done, specifications for new hardware, instruction manuals. Which assumptions make the biggest difference and represent compound risks. What you mean when you say … challenge, opportunity, interesting, wow!, maybe. How much creative freedom? What success looks like, the difference between “it’s your call” and “your job is on the line.”

What everyone wants to know is, what do you mean?

Change ambiguities to specifics.

Skippy Strategy: Next time you hear yourself carving out wriggle-room, tighten your language.