Office conference rooms, cubicles, corner offices, and common areas are crammed with business jargon that dulls imaginations and saps creativity.
Many powerful words for business have nary a thing to do, directly, with industry.
Polite push back can temper groupthink. Ask why
"things have always been done that way." Or ask why
it didn't work the last time you tried it.
People like proof. They want to see things with their own eyes. It's human nature. In trying to reach and win customers, clients, colleagues, or management, show your ideas with examples. Draw an analogy, give an anecdote, paint a picture. Help them see what you see. Show them, and they'll be more likely to get it and get on board.
Trying something that didn't work, as long as it wasn't impulsively foolish, dangerous, or illegal, can be regarded as the trial run or first draft.
Breathe, pause and collect yourself before you send an email while angry, take criticism too personally, or speak when emotion is clouding your judgment. The repair work required after you lash out is wasteful, unproductive, and inefficient.
Sure, market testing and focus groups have their place. But business success takes action and plenty of doing.
Hearing is a function. Listening is a skill. It takes practice. But it yields immeasurable dividends. Extra points if you listen, consider alternative options and critical feedback, and adjust course because of it.
The staggering pace of growth in social media shows how essential it is to learn all through life. Learning can mean formal training, of course. But learning also happens by staying nimble enough to act when opportunities appear.
Being open-minded—open to change, open to being wrong, and open to new possibilities—can lead to new products, new clients, new markets, and entirely new ways of doing business.
Civility eases differences among humans. When I was an editorial writer, my colleagues and I would gather each morning to discuss the official position the Cleveland Plain Dealer
would take on the most controversial topics of the day.
Politics, religion, social issues—you name it. It worked well largely because the group was civil and respectful. And our boss was an awesome leader who made sure the discussions stayed that way.
Leading is much more powerful than managing. Think about it: You manage problems. You manage bills. Or you manage just to cope. Leading, on the other hand, is nuanced, customized, and inspired.
Fear of failing keeps people from doing all sorts of things: Piping up at a meeting with an idea, starting a business, or taking other risks. Failing is really an inevitable part of taking risks. And taking risks is an inevitable part of a strong business.
[Related: 12 career missteps—and the important lessons they hold
After failing, it's important to learn what when wrong and how to do it better next time. This is the true secret of missteps. Through the lessons learned in the aftermath, greatness can emerge.
Becky Gaylord worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Sydney, Australia, before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. You can read Becky's blog Framing What Works. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.