Three hard to say sentences that execs don’t say enough
”I don’t know”.
‘It’s amazing how many people are afraid of these words, think that by using them they will somehow appear inadequate.
When I first shook hands with Arnold Palmer, I told him I could make only two guarantees.
First, that if I didn’t know something, I would tell him. Second, that when I didn’t know something, I would find someone who did’.
The above quote is from a section entitled, Three Hard-To-Say Phrases of the New York Times, best selling book, What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack.
The other Hard-To-Say Phrases McCormack shares are:
‘I need help’
‘I was wrong’
For the ‘I need help’ phrase, McCormack maintains, ‘There are limitations of course (for asking for help). Asking for the same kind of help might indicate some sort of learning disability.
Nevertheless, more often than not, particularly in aggressive companies, people tend not to ask for enough help, rather than for too much.’
For the ‘I was wrong’ phrase, McCormack argues, ‘The people who are less secure about their abilities have the hardest time admitting their mistakes
. . . I have seen some very capable executives get excited about their mistakes. They feel that by doing something wrong they may have learned something right, and can’t wait to try again.’
Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post. For the next seven days, keep the three hard-to-say phrases top of mind – maybe on a post-it note in your wallet or handbag. In your interactions and meetings, when the opportunity arises, use the appropriate phrase.
Check out this post on how to enliven your direct report meetings
p.s In the present climate of a United States presidential election, with the saturation of political advertisements, you may not know that the first political advertisements in the United States occurred during the 1952 presidential campaign.
Spot political advertising was first used by the Republican party, and conducted by a firm known for its soap and aspirin advertisements.
The Democratic party dismissed the advertising as ‘Madison Avenue huckerism’.
Liberal journalist Marya Mannes, in a journal aimed at intellectuals, mocked the advertising, as follows.
‘Eisenhower hits the spot
One full general, that’s the lot
Feeling sluggish, feeling sick?
Take a does of Ike* and Dick*
Philip Morris, Lucky Strike
Alka Seltzer, I like Ike’
(from Eisenhower in war in peace by Jean Edward Smith)
*Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon
p.p.s. Here is a link to an SBS article that includes my analysis of the body language, speaking and presence of Donald Trump in the second Presidential debate. It might interest you.
p.p.p.s Regarding the ‘grilling’ of the CEOs of Australia’s four big banks last week, below is my analysis of the body language, speech, manner and presence of the CEOs against the benchmark of a confident and competent CEO of a major public institution, who is facing public criticism of the institution.