I want to speak to the managers of departments or teams for a moment. Have you listened to your team’s vocabulary recently? Not product knowledge, but what they are saying in terms of what has to get accomplished.
We take our vocabulary for granted at times. We do not hear ourselves or understand that the words we choose will help us prioritize and accomplish tasks—or let us off the hook with excuses for not accomplishing our goals. Let me explain.
Recently I was sitting with a client who was asking me for help on how to implement a new process in his department. His team was pretty successful but he felt he was not seeing it being implemented fast enough. We discussed two things that may have impacted this lack of implementation, his training process and vocabulary.
What I discovered was that he had not followed the 8-Step Coaching Process I had recommended. His reasoning was that his team was made up of veteran employees who should be able to implement the change. He did not want them to feel like he was treating them like rookies.
I told him that following the process, even for veterans, saves time later on. Working with veterans allows you to move quicker through the process, but skipping steps is now slowing down implementation (For a breakdown of the 8-Step Coaching Process, you can read a previous article at www.glennpasch.com).
I then brought up the topic of his vocabulary. I mentioned that I heard him telling his team, “We want to implement this change.” I stressed to him that “want to” versus “have to” is passive. It allows people to assign it a priority level based on their workloads versus what you expected. Of course, you cannot make everything a “have to” item or it loses the effect, but in this case, if this change is important, then you need stronger language to emphasize this.
Think of your team. How many times do you say, “want to” versus “have to?” Take this out of the business world for a moment and put it into your personal life. I “want to” lose 10 pounds versus I “have to” lose 10 pounds. What happens in the first instance if you do not lose the weight? Most times you tell yourself, “I will get to it” or “I will start next week,” because there is not a firm reason in your mind as to why this has to happen.
Think if your doctor said you “have to” lose the weight or you will end up in the hospital. Would that make it more of a priority? “Have to” situations have higher repercussions to them. The failure to accomplish the task or initiative can have more serious effects.
So what message are you sending to your team? Are you allowing them to put things off because you have not clearly set the deadlines and communicated the importance?
What I recommend is that each day you and your team have a short list of things that have to get done. Be sure to demonstrate that effectiveness to your team when you start seeing success.
This is something you have to implement.
Glenn Pasch is the COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a national speaker and trainer.