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To be, or not to be, that is NOT the question

I have written before about the impact of passive voice, and how it removes accountability from communication and decisions.

I would like to revisit this, because I have recently experienced more of this activity.

No “Should Be’s” or “Could Be’s”

I had a conversation with the team yesterday, where a teammate was asked a question as to whether or not something was safe to do.

Their answer?

You guessed.

“Should be fine.”

This is a meaningless answer. The question was asked to establish confidence in a plan of action.

With the answer, “Should Be,” the person was effectively saying, I am not confident in this and will not be held accountable if something happens.

Change that active voice to passive voice

What does removing passive voice do? Well, it does two things.

The first thing it does is give people confidence in your answer. If you are confident in something, answering “Yes” is a lot more definitive to those around you than “Should Be.”

The second thing it does is provide real accountability to the actions of you and your team. If you are going to answer “Yes” to a question, you are answering this way because you have left no stone unturned. Having this mindset will make you more thorough with the work you do.

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