Don’t be a “But” in the Workplace!

Aspire Indiana has recently listed its cultural values:  People, Integrity, Laughter, Learning, Accountability and Relationships.  I’m curious how each one of us is intentionally living out these values in our daily lives at Aspire.  Some days, I am spot on and feel great!  Other days, I bomb and feel awful about my behavior.  But what feels right is that I am aware of this and making deliberate changes to improve each day!

One value I have been giving attention to recently is the value of People.  At Aspire we’ve defined the value of People as ‘passionately believing in people and embracing diversity.’  So how do I demonstrate this?  There are two gifts I have that allow me to do this intentionally:

  1. Inclusion: I have the gift of needing others! I rarely speak authoritatively, as if  I know all there is to know about a subject. Rather, I solicit input from others and include them in decision-making, especially for the most important decisions!
  2. Ambivalence: I have the gift of looking good in grey! When it comes to ideas, brainstorming, problem-solving and team-work, tolerance is essential and ambivalence is more than OK. Polarized, black and white thinking is the active refusal to hold two opposing views at the same time. Contradictions can and do exist comfortably together.

Without intending to do so our language can set up conflicts within ourselves and between ourselves in the workplace.  The word, “but” is so prevalent!  Start paying attention to how many times in your own self-talk or team discussions you hear the word, “but.”  “I have so many clients to see, BUT I have to get paperwork done.”  “I know my boss wants me finish this project, BUT I need to leave early this week.”  

What would happen if we substituted the word, “but” with “and?” “I have so many clients to see, AND I have to get paperwork done.”  “I know my boss wants me to finish this project, AND I need to leave early this week.”  The word, “but” sets up a conflict where there is only one solution.  The word, “and” allows your mind to problem solve for both!

It takes deliberate, intentional action to lend an “and” and not be a “but!”  Let’s all start to be aware of the power of our language!  Take a look:
Whether you are part of the Aspire work family or not, I’m curious about how you value the co-workers in your life, the ones that hold your same ideas AND those that differ from you.  Let me know by commenting on this blog!


bios_scottAbout the Author: Barbara Scott is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Aspire Indiana. Learn more about Aspire Indiana on Facebook or at its website.

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4 Responses to Don’t be a “But” in the Workplace!

  1. Jim says:

    I too value Inclusion and am often ambivalent (I need more data!!), AND I need to retool my “BUT” thinking and speaking.

  2. sheldon610 says:

    It is the challenge of 21st century man and woman to recognize that the “other” that we so often oppose is actually a part of our inner psychic family that for various reasons we have rejected and relegated to the darkness of our own shadow. Then some family member, co-worker, neighbor down the street or even some group is a far distant land becomes the carrier of that unwanted, rejected and disowned self. The challenge is to hold the tension of these opposing forces–the opposites–within ourselves until this holding produces a third–a birth coming from the union of the two is born and a new path forward emerges. That new path may be a new idea, a shift in awareness or consciousness, a change in attitude or simply an increase in tolerance and compassion for the other. In any case we have expanded, become more inclusive and there is less darkness.

  3. Randi says:

    I’m just catching up on the blogs and I really like all three. I’ll be paying attention to the ‘ands’ and ‘buts’

  4. Pingback: Oops in the Workplace! | Aspire Indiana, Inc.

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