Three phrases the SAS don’t accept, and nor should you!
The three phrases below aren’t under any circumstance allowed to be used in elite military teams like the SAS, so why should your company be any different? It doesn’t matter if you own the business or are one of the team, these phrases show disrespect not only to management and owners, but also to colleagues and clients, so let’s start to stamp them out.
Phrase 1: “I can’t do that”
Why? And what are you going to do about it? A blanket statement like that is the lazy way out. If something genuinely cannot be done, then go into more detail about why, and come up with alternatives or solutions, rather than just ‘I can’t’. Remember, talking about a problem without suggesting a solution is just whining. Do you think an SAS team member who asks someone to “cover me” before moving locations in gunfight, would accept “I can’t” from his colleagues? Or more importantly, do you think someone would have enough cheek to even say it? No, they wouldn’t. Why should your workplace be held to a lower standard?
Phrase 2: “Sorry I’m late”
Being late is downright disrespectful. It puts undue burden on your colleagues or management to cover for you in your absence. If you’re late to a client, even worse, you risk upsetting them and losing business. So, quite simply, don’t be. If you are, don’t just rock up late and try blow it off with a half hearted ‘sorry’. Call before being late and explain the situation, how you tried all measures to not be late, but unfortunately you will be ‘X’ minutes late. I’d love to see everyone’s face if a member of his elite SAS squad strolled in to an operation late and just said “Sorry I’m late”. They would be reprimanded by a superior, but worse would lose respect of their colleagues – your team should be the same.
Phrase 3: “I don’t know”
Well, find out, or at least make an effort to find out. We have a whole heap of awesome tools at our disposal in today’s age, and there are very few questions you can’t find an answer to in a few moments. A much better alternative is “give me a second, and I’ll find out”. To put it into the SAS context again, how do you think “Don’t know” would go down in response to “What time is our mission scheduled for, and who’s going to head the team?”
These three phrases aren’t acceptable in elite military operations, and nor should they be in your business. If you truly, genuinely cant do something, suggest an alternative. If you’re going to be late, give a heads up and don’t swan in late with a lame excuse and if you don’t know something, find out.