Inside LaunchStreet Getting Rid of They business podcast innovation podcast


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Remove “they” from your vocabulary and shift your mindset.

How many of us have used the convenient excuse of “they” for our mistakes or failures? “They” didn’t get it, “they” rejected the plan, “they” didn’t give me the tools I needed to succeed. We’ve all done it, but it is so counterproductive to innovation and creates a toxic culture of blame, and this is bad for not just innovation but also company culture.

In the last of a four-part interview series where amazing business leaders interview me about innovation, Kris Boesch, the CEO and Founder of Choose People, a company that supports organizations in solving challenging people problems, dons the interviewer’s hat. Together, we dig into why we get caught up in pushing blame to others, and how to overcome ‘they’ syndrome.

Words and the language we use are incredibly powerful. Kris and I explore the power of the word “they” and how this can put the brakes on our innovation efforts. In order to innovate, we need accountability and ownership, but the word “they” keeps us in the trap of blame pushing. I share some examples of when this evolved into a toxic company culture, and how simply removing it from the vocabulary can lead to immense mindset shifts. The word “they” is also critical when it comes to communicating ideas and how we communicate our innovation can force us into an us-vs.-them situation, rather than a ‘we’ situation. The truth is, ideas can’t stand on their own without being properly communicated to others — and I share some of my tips for proactively dealing with people’s obstacles and challenges, just by changing your language.

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