Friday, March 7, 2014

I Would Like To Say No Problem

At first blush you might think my little rant here has nothing to do with workers' compensation, but the residue of corporate lexicon tends to infiltrate culture, ultimately affecting our behavior towards others and how we do our jobs.

The reality is that workers' compensation is a people business in which there is a lot of communication. How we communicate directly affects the quality of service that is provided, and directly affects the perception of quality.

There are a couple of phrases in general modern American dialogue that absolutely drive me crazy.

One of them is when folks say or write that they "would like to" do this or that.

As in, "I would like to thank you for...", or "I would like to say...".

Listen, if you would like to, then just do it! Why the apologetic tone, the request for permission, the soft, fuzzy, misdirection of action?

The phrase, "I would like," intones a lack of fortitude. It tells the listener or reader that the person speaking or writing doesn't have any confidence in what they are about to say or write. It lacks authority.

Worse, it lacks genuineness - it tells the recipient that there is doubt in the communication.

Do you say to your spouse or significant other, "I would like to love you"? No! You say, "I love you."

Saying "I would like to" is negative. It implies there's something wrong, that "but if" then it would be okay. Prefacing your phrase with "I would like" communicates insincerity.

If you "would like" to do or say something, then then DO it or SAY it!

If you want something, then you only need four letters: W A N T.

If you are in the process of communicating, then there is no need for permission because you are already in the act, so you don't say "I would like to say." Just say it!

Think about how this language affects your day to day job. The mindset of asking permission delays action, defers responsibility and slows down processes. It communicates inaction or worse, apathy.

Listen to yourself carefully throughout the day as you communicate to others - try to catch yourself whenever you reach for the "I would like to" phrase, and then restate whatever you're going to say into a positive, direct communication of action: "I want," "I am," "I will."

You will be amazed at not only the authority your communication attains, but how much more ACTION you can get with direct, positive communication.

Another phrase that has crept into our culture that absolutely drives me nuts is the phrase, "no problem," in response to a "thank you."


First, you just said "No." I don't like "no." I want something, perhaps I got it, perhaps I didn't, but the phrase "no problem" is a negative communication - you just told me right off the bat, "no."

Don't tell me "no"! I praise you, give you thanks for your efforts, and then you tell me "no"?

I'm not going to return to you in the future unless it's absolutely necessary because apparently you are a negative person and you tell me "no" all of the time...

Second, apparently whatever you did for me in your quest for earning a living just put you out of the way because there must have been some sort of problem.

If it wasn't a problem then why are you creating one now?

It's not a problem, it's a job. If I thank you for doing your job I have communicated that I appreciate the effort. I am telling you that it is worthwhile for me to interact with you at least on a business level.

And then you reply that you were put out of the way for doing something that you are paid to do?

Excuse me if I interfered with your business day! Pardon my intrusion into your busy life. Sorry you have to earn a living and it's not pleasurable.


When someone says thank you, your response should be, "It was my pleasure."

Because it IS your pleasure. Without me purchasing your goods or services you would not have a job - then you really do have a problem!

People throughout the business day say "no problem" without any thought - that's how deeply ingrained into our culture that phrase has crept - and that's a shame because common language phrases shape our interactions and affect our reactions.

Try this experiment today - whenever someone says "thank you" respond with a smile and say, "it was my pleasure."

I can guarantee that you will experience an immediate positive reaction!

At WorkCompCentral headquarters we have banned the phrase, "no problem" in response to "thank you." And we deal with it just like a parent does with unacceptable language in the home - we have a quarter jar and when someone gets caught uttering the banned phrase they dispense a quarter into the jar.

There aren't too many quarters being put in that jar any longer.

And if YOU ever receive the "no problem" response from a WorkCompCentral employee or representative after saying "thank you," I want to know about it, because there's going to be a disgorgement of pocket change.

So go forth into your business day. Be assertive and take control - if you WOULD then just DO. And make it YOUR PLEASURE to provide the services for which you are being paid.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post - it elicits comments on so many levels. I'll just address one:

    I've had the pleasure to visit Australia several times. One of their favorite expressions is, 'No Worries, Mate.'

    What I love about that is it expresses - Yes, there are some issues here that are 'out of the norm' and might be a problem.

    But, 'Hey - No Worries, Mate'. We're all in this together and, collectively, we'll take up the slack. It doesn't matter how bad things are - together, we'll overcome and all be better off for having shared the experience.'