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Words I Can Do Without

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Yoda said it best: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

At the time, the evil empire had just struck back, and the future of the rebellion was at stake. Yoda’s goal was to train Luke to become a Jedi, so he could save the universe from the dark force.

Clear, simple, and effective communication, right? Just trying is not an option.

While preparing for my grueling set of interviews for executive director of MLA just a couple of months ago, I studied MLA’s strategic and business plans and dove into the hundreds of pages of materials that were provided to me. At that moment, I felt like a librarian, analyzing masses of information and attempting to identify the essence of it all.

Then it struck me: MLA wanted change, but “continue” was the primary action verb in its strategic plan. Which piece was more important: moving forward or staying in place? I was all set to challenge the board on this apparent contradiction. No sense in beating around the bush.

Don’t get me wrong, “continuing” to run effective, relevant, and strategic programs is a good thing. But if everything we do is hunky dory, then where is the urgency for change? What would the “future better state” for MLA look like?

If you kinda, sorta, wanna, maybe hope to, you know, eventually try to get there, you end up treading water. Instead:

  • Determine where it is you want to go, in a few words all can understand.
  • Figure out how to get there with clear, precise and timed strategies.
  • Make sure you do what needs doing to get people to follow you in this journey, because you can’t get there by yourself.

“Try” and “continue” are words I can do without. What words are you eliminating from your vocabulary?

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