I find that the people who should the most, often do the least.
When I meet a manager who shoulds all over him or herself (an apt phrase at too many levels, but sadly not one I came up with!), I start to get wary.
They’re usually loud with it. “We should improve how we recruit”. “We should do this better”. “We should come up with a plan to retain customers”.
Or even more generically, “We should stop talking about this, and just get it done by the next meeting”…
… before proceeding to get none of it done by any meeting.
It makes them feel important. Relevant. Wise. Decisive.
And in reality, usually said with the best intent. Even if they’re often “captain obvious” exhortations.
It’s not that the goals are unworthy. They may well all worth doing. But not 4 of them in every meeting with no follow up at all.
Be careful with your shoulds.
- Don’t use them too liberally unless you want to build a reputation as a should-shoveller.
- Definitely don’t should on anyone else’s behalf – no one likes being at the receiving end of half-baked commitments.
- If you’ve shoulded on behalf of your team, make sure you clear enough OFF their plate so they can follow up.
- If you find that you’ve inadvertently shoulded yourself, don’t shirk it.
- If you’re the CEO, watch your leadership team for over-shoulders and under-doers.
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