Saturday, September 1, 2012
Ifs,Ands, and Buts
When dealing with people it's important to get your if's, ands, and buts correct. We were recently treated to an incredible teaching talk produced by Orrin Woodward where he brought this concept to light. I think the highlight of this talk was where Orrin shared the replacement of and for but. Let me explain.
Often times when we edify an individual, especially if we have our people skills in line, we begin the interaction with our praise. What we admire about how the person has performed flows easily from the lips, but (note this use of the word but is part of the teaching moment Orrin shared as you'll see a little further down in the article), as we are human we often times de-edify in the same sentence. The culprit is the word but. Example...
"That was an outstanding catch under very difficult coverage, but had you run outside, you would have avoided the linebacker that stopped you from gaining additional yardage."
Up until the first comma, this sentence was an example of the mastery of people skills, then we ruined it. Had we reworded the rest of the sentence with just a tad of tweaking, the constructive criticism would have been accepted, rather than taken as a scolding. Example...
" That was an outstanding catch under difficult coverage, and you always seem to do incredible things against outstanding defenses. I can see your ready to become an impact player in our offense! Would you be open to a suggestion that will clearly bring your game to the next level?"
You asked and will likely receive permission from that player to now apply constructive criticism. Instead of that player walking away from your conversation with an attitude of, "I can never do anything to please them, here I make a great catch and all they can do is complain." You've praised the action that was worthy and inspired that person to want to achieve more. All that was required was to remove the word but, then replace it with and. What an incredibly simple concept that's destined to increase your effectiveness as a leader! This attention to detail is why Orrin Woodward has achieved the level of leadership effectiveness he has. What a blessing to be a student of his!