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Do or Do Not, There is No Try

Anyone that works at Warehouse of Fixtures knows that we do not allow the use of the word “try”.  If we hear someone use the word try, they will get my infamous Yoda speech “Do or do not, there is no try”.  We do believe in people pushing boundaries.  We want to people to work on projects that outside of their comfort zone and sometime that will involve failing.  Failing is part of learning, if you are not failing occasionally you probably are not growing.  I will write a whole different post on our thoughts on failure.

The issue we have with the word “try” is that adults who use the word try are giving themselves permission to not do what they have committed to.   “I will try” is an open admission that a person may or may not do what they are being asked to do.  It is a half commitment.   When we ask a WOF team member to do something, we want to know they will fully own the results and live up to their commitment.  If we are asking someone on the team to do something, we want to know that it will be completed and that there is a timeline as to when it will get completed.

If someone is asked to do the impossible, they need to either commit to making the impossible happen (most things aren’t impossible they just require extraordinary time, effort and planning) or tell the person asking what they can do.  Not an “I can’t do it”, but “I think that timeline is aggressive, I either need more resources to get the job done or we need to push the deadline.”   If we as an team allowed the person to answer with an “I will try”, when the deadline was missed or the task wasn’t fully completed, the person might say “I tried my hardest, I didn’t have enough time or staff to get that done.”

If someone is asked to improve on a skill, their attitude, the results they are producing, we want to hear that they will “work on it”.  Meaning that their actions and efforts will aim at achieving the requested results.  We are all here to learn, grow and improve together and that requires candor, effort and integrity.

We know many people are thinking that our ban on the word try is purely semantics.  We believe that changing behavior, starts with changing the way that people think.  Changing the way people think is a difficult proposition, but part of it is changing vocabulary.  If one of our team is about to use the word “try”, they have to stop and think about what they really mean.  Are they fully committed to completing the task on that timeline?  Do they require more time, information or resources?  Do they feel that this task is unimportant?  If they are living in Integrity (our number one core value) they will own their commitments and not make half commitments like “I will try”.

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