April 27, 2015 fm

We Have To Stop Saying We Have To

Monday morning, 10am. Team meeting. Coffee and croissants. The weather, the weekend, small talk. All meeting participants find a seat. The topic: strategy. How do we get from A to B? What’s the strategic plan? Brainstorming. Soon, one of the business line heads raises his voice and says, We have to…

How many times have you heard those three words in your business life? How many times have you heard those three words in your private life? How many times have you said them yourself? We have to…

What’s the purpose of saying, We have to…?

  1. We have to increase our marketing efforts.
  2. We have to hire more people.
  3. We have to look for new business opportunities.
  4. We have to fix the gate.
  5. We have to spend more time together.

I realized that those people who say, We have to…, are hardly ever the ones who actually do it. We have to… means they don’t want to do it. If they intended to do it, they’d say something like,

  1. I’d like to propose the setting up of a marketing core team who assesses new channels. And I’d be happy to join that team.
  2. My dear HR friends, let’s sit down together and see where and how we can attract more talent for our company.
  3. Based on our current SWOT analysis, I recommend that we focus on our strength in e-commerce and explore new similar segments like furniture. I already put some first ideas on paper.
  4. I called the carpenter. He’ll be here this afternoon to fix the gate.
  5. What do you think about a romantic trip to Paris in two weeks? Because that’s where we’re going.

We have to… doesn’t search for a solution. We have to… delegates a problem. As a leader and effective communicator stop saying, We have to… and start triggering solutions with concrete actions, ideas, ways to solve problems. From We have to… to I’ve got an idea!

Next time, someone in your strategy meeting says, We have to…, make him or her pay $5 for a humanitarian project. Because THAT we have to… do.

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