I’ll list all 10 of these easily recognizable platitudes with reasons why you should stop using them except for certain circumstances. Firing off a platitude isn't just annoying, it also shows you can be lazy not just in words but in actions!
Work smarter, not harder.
Truth beold, I’m extremely guilty on this one!!! There are days I have probably built a small cottage industry around this plat.
Take a moment and just absorb it. Look at it from the viewpoint of whomever you say it to. “What happens when you say that to me?” 1) You imply I'm stupid. 2) You imply whatever I'm doing should take a lot less time and effort than it does. And 3) After you say it, I really want to hate you.
If you know what I could do to be more efficient, tell me. If you know there's a better way, show me. If you think there's a better way but don't know what it is, say so. Admit you don't have the answer. We can collaborate to figure it out. And, most important, recognize that sometimes the only thing to do is to work harder.
This one is only acceptable if you are referencing yourself and work that you have done which has measureable(quantitative or qualitative) results and you’re not using it in a condescending manner.
There is no I in team.
Sure there is. I am in or on the TEAM. You are on the TEAM and you probably refer to yourself as an I. All the other members of the TEAM are individual I’s as well. The more "individual" the better in the makeup of a TEAM. It only serves to make the team stronger. The best teams are often a strong blend of each member’s individual talents, perspectives, and goals.
If you want a team to work hard and achieve more, make sure each person feels he/she can not only achieve the team's goal but also one of their own goals. Spend time figuring out how each individual on the team can do both.
It just wasn't meant to be.
This is your work life, not some Star Crossed Lovers Situation from a bad 80’s movie. Using this plat, you might as well throw in the old favorite, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Fate had nothing to do with it. Something went wrong. Figure out what went wrong and learn from it.
This plat is not just lazy but also places responsibility /blame elsewhere. Man up and take whatever comes, that will show much better for you than trying to sweep it under the rug.
To fix it, try, "Let's figure out what we can do next time to make this work". Not only is this statement empowering, but it places the responsibility where it should be: on you.
That's probably not what you want to hear.
News Flash – BAD NEWS SUCKS. It hurts to hear bad news. But when you say that something isn't what I want to hear, you shift the issue over to my side of the table and it becomes my problem. Don't shift. Explain your decision. Layout your logic. Detail your reasoning.
I still may not want to hear it, but that way the focus remains on the issue and not on me and I might see a way to help repair the situation.
Perception is reality.
Perception is a person’s version of reality, no matter how wrong it may be.
If other people perceive reality differently than you, work to change that perception. Make roads to allow others to understand the reality.
Perceptions are constantly in flux and remember, “Reality lasts forever, or at least until a new reality comes along to replace it.”
We want your feedback / Your feedback is appreciated.
You see and hear this plat everywhere: websites, signs, meetings, TV, radio, bumperstickers, etc.
If you truly want feedback, don't be passive. Don't make it easy for people to provide. Go get it. Be active. Ask Questions. Be Deliberate.
People who really want feedback take responsibility for getting that feedback--they don't wait to receive it. They are eager to process it and understand it so they can move forward.
It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
You're not being a bold, daring risk taker, you're taking the “My Way or the Highway” option. This is both lazy and self-indulgent. Good ideas are rarely shut out. People, especially bosses, like good ideas. If they don't like your idea, then go back a plat and ask for feedback. The problem usually isn't them: It's your premise.
Never take the easy way out. Layout what you want to do. Show that it makes sense with details. Get other people behind you. Then whatever you do has a much better chance of succeeding.
Failure is not an option.
This one is often used by the frustrated who wants to shut down questions about a debatable decision or a seemingly impossible goal. "Listen team, failure is not an option."
This is an imperfect world with imperfect beings. Failure is always a option, a possibility and more often than not, a probability. Just because your boss says it isn't, doesn't make it so.
Don't reach for this platitude. Justify your decision. Answer the hard questions and if you can't, maybe the decision isn't so wise.
Let's not reinvent the wheel.
No, really, let’s reinvent the wheel, because your wheel might turn out to be a better wheel. This could mean that the original wheel wasn't so great.
And bosses can't have that. They need to know that the sun will rise, the birds will sing and the workers will all be on time. Going outside of their “boxes” is often an unacceptable and uncomfortable exercise.
Show them why your version of the wheel is better. Back it up with data and details and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to your own Indy 500.
It is what it is.
This is the biggest COPOUT available. A total shutdown statement that is frustrating in its vaugeness. "It is what it is" really means, "I'm too lazy to try to make it different, so for gosh sakes stop talking about it."
"It is what it is" is only a truism if you take the easy way out by letting "it" remain "it." Define “it” and try to figure out a new definition so you can confidently say, “It isn’t what it is.”