Nov 15, 2005

The tyranny of "but"



How often have you come up with an idea and gone to your boss/mentor/senior to hear them say "It's a good idea, but..."

This is what I call the "tyranny of But", where a seemingly well-meaning sentence actually kills an idea or innovation !

Effective managers who help people realize their potential try to minimize the usage of "but" with "and"

So the conversation could go something like this...

You: I've got a great proposal for increasing the monthly output of our widgets by 40% . Here's what we could do.
Manager: It's a great idea, and here's what I can do with you to look at scenarios you haven't forecasted.

Too many times, managers think their job is to agree or disagree with employee's ideas. Once they become champions of the ideas they can only make it better.

How many ideas have you as a manager got from your team? And how many have you killed?