On a recent trip to Denmark, my wife and I were struck by the number of times we saw advertising signs using the word “probably.” As in, “probably the best beer in Denmark” or “probably the best selection of beer” and “probably the best coffee around.”
Now perhaps there’s a law in Denmark that forbids Danes from being too boastful in their advertising – at least a bit of truth in advertising is, after all, a laudable goal.
But I couldn’t help but think I’d opt for a different approach rather than settling for a mere “probability.” Who wants to settle for “probably the best’?
Probably is a vague, wishy-washy word. It’s a safe exit from a bold commitment.
If you want to create a more inspiring workplace, if you want to be a more inspiring leader, then “probably” doesn’t cut it. Inspiring leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. In fact, I’d venture to guess that if everyone in your workplace made a conscious effort to change all of their “probably’s” into hearty, passionate “yes’s” that you would be one step closer to creating a truly inspiring workplace culture.
Michael Kerr, July 2012. www.humoratwork.com
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