7 Dangerous Words

  1. September 6th, 2022  | 

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Published in Leadership, Productivity

Two events on the calendar are colliding.

The first event is the 50th anniversary of George Carlin’s 1972 record and subsequent live performances of “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.”

Regardless of what you think of Carlin’s brand of humor, the point is that Carlin
proved there was an audience for observational humor—no matter how disturbing some found it.

The second event is the return of strategic planning season.

What do these two events have in common?

Having led more than 250 strategic planning sessions, I can tell you there are Seven Words You Can Never Say during a planning session if you want to get better:

“We have always done it this way.”

The past two years of wrestling with the uncertainties brought by a global pandemic prompted fresh looks at how organizations conduct business:

  • Adapting how and where work gets done 
  • Ditching unprofitable customers 
  • Re-imagining product and service offerings 
  • Overhauling org charts and business structure 
  • Getting creative about finding, onboarding and retaining talent 

Uncertainties are still with us.

And that makes the process of gathering your team to discuss them and develop your go-forward plans as essential as ever.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Results

The flip side of “always” is “never.”
Here are five other words that will kill your improvement efforts:
“We’ve never done that before.”
If you’re not prepared to change, don’t bother to plan.
Planning is about figuring out how to do more of what works and how to fix the thing that aren’t serving you.
It’s all about changing for the better.
The most effective planning sessions are filtered through an organization’s core values (which shouldn’t change) and grounded in a realistic set of objectives (which should).
Clarity is the key to accountability, so it’s imperative the plan provides a clear roadmap specifying activities to be accomplished, the person responsible for each activity, and deadlines that help establish the pace of execution.

If you’re serious about getting better and want to know more about my approach for getting teams focused on and excited about developing a workable plan, please email me at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation.

Where is change in your organization most needed?

How will you get your leaders excited about executing it?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 250 strategic planning sessions, he’s delivered more than 600 keynotes and workshops on every continent except Antarctica, and he coaches leaders who are inspired to take their career to the next level. His fourth leadership book— Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) —is a Soundview Executive Best Business Book.

Ready to reset?

Attend my free Accountability webinar: I Did It! to set and achieve your 2021 goals.


  • February 17th from 11 AM – 12:30 PM Central Time
  • My free webinar will help you:
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To dive even deeper into the topic of accountability, I invite you to purchase a copy of my bestselling book, “Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture.”

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