Question of the Week

Is 'try' the 'most dangerous word to use at work?' What other words signal failure at the office?


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Try is the most dangerous word to use at work, Brad Hoover, CEO of the Internet company Grammarly, writes at Fortune magazine.

“When I hear employees say they will ‘try to meet a deadline,’ ‘try to close a deal,’ or ‘try to handle a customer issue,’ my next question is what we need to do to ensure their success,” Hoover wrote. “When asked to complete a task that you do not feel is realistic, it’s better to suggest a more feasible goal. Managers appreciate problem solvers and employees who come to the table with solutions rather than problems.”

Other words that could put a worker in danger, Hoover writes, are someday, if, never, maybe, used to and can’t.

This week, we’d like to ask you: Is try the “most dangerous word to use at work?” What other words signal failure at the office?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: How much do you spend on clothes for work? Do you have trouble sticking to a budget?

Posted by coltakashi: “I work for an engineering company that cleans up nuclear reactors and contaminated soil and groundwater at a 586 square mile former nuclear weapons production plant for the U.S. Department of Energy, so all of the executives in the company tend to wear work clothes in case they need to run out onto the job site. I only wear a necktie and sport coat to work about twice a year. My wardrobe tends toward Wranglers and Carhartt and steel-toe boots. Outer clothing worn at the work site needs to be all cotton, since polyester tends to have more static electricity that attracts radioactive dust particles. When exiting a facility, you go through a whole body radiation scanner, and if your clothes have picked up too much radiation, they will take them off of you. You might get them back if they can be cleaned.”

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