The Best Advice I Ever Received

Many years ago, my boss at that time told me “Never say you’re going to ‘try’ to get it done. I need to know that you’re going to get it done.” What I realized was that taking out “try” meant I had to really be accountable and get it done when I said it would be done.

Lately, the word “accountable” has been cropping up a whole lot lately with a many people I talk to – “I just can’t seem to get my managers to be accountable” or “We aren’t connecting with our customers lately to make the sale.” When I sit in on their department or client meetings, these are the types of comments I hear:

  • “We’re kind-a going to really work at trying to make our goals this month.”
  • “Our company kind-a works with our customers to try to provide the best service.”
  • “We’re kind-a in the business of trying to hopefully making your business grow.”

Using words like “try,” “kind-a,” and “hopefully” give you an “out” and holds you (both in your mind and your customer’s mind) less accountable. If I say I’ll “try” to get something done, that means I may not get it done – but I’m really going to try to! And, in my mind, I’m making it OK if I don’t get it done – “I mean, I really tried though!” And, whomever I made that “commitment” to also knows that it might not get done – they know what the word “try” means, too.

Lately, the word “kind-a” has become more epidemic than “try”. Start listening to people talk (including yourself!) and notice how many times “kind-a” is used in a sentence or conversation. In a recent conversation, I counted “kind-a” used five times in one sentence! If a potential provider told you “We kind-a try to do our best to meet our customer’s needs,” would you feel trustful enough to give them your business? Or, would you be more apt to go with someone who tells you “We work diligently at meeting our customer’s needs – always”?

I don’t always succeed at cutting these words out of my vocabulary – I try, though (haha!)! It just takes practice to form that habit. What I do know is that when people start taking those types of words out of their normal language, they have better success with meeting goals and gaining customers. That great advice from over 25 years ago still holds today, and I know you’ll benefit from it, too.

Submitted by Norma Dompier, President, RedBike International & TCT Education Committee Member